Sergio Ramos has come out in defence of team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo after he was booed on Tuesday, despite contributing a goal and an assist in Real Madrid's 2-0 win over Roma in the UEFA Champions League.
Per Richard Martin of the MailOnline, he was quoted by Marca saying:
I would tell the fans to think a little first. I respect them but when things don't go well they should support their players because we all want the best for Real Madrid.
He's a historic player for Real Madrid, he keeps proving that year after year, look at what he's achieved.
When the fans at the Bernabeu boo you it is because they want to transmit their demands to you, they want to push us and see the best performance from us.
Fellow Real Madrid star James Rodriguez believes the Bernabeu faithful have the right to voice their opinion, though he noted it was his own form that needs improvement rather than Ronaldo's. He told Spanish television network Antena 3 (h/t Mundo Deportivo and Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC):
There are days when things do not go for you, but we know that anything can happen in football. I believe all the fans want to see nice football and when things do not go for you, they have the right to whistle. We are at a club which makes demands of you every day, and we players are here for this.
Los Blancos manager Zinedine Zidane believes the criticism could have its intended effect—to eke out better performances from the superstar, who also missed several chances. Per Martin, he told Spanish television channel TVE: "It will only motivate him. The important thing is that every time Cristiano is on the pitch he wants to score and he keeps doing it."
BT Sport's Champions League host Gary Lineker shared the 31-year-old's goal, as he expertly volleyed in Lucas Vazquez's cross from close range:
Once again we had to rely on Ronaldo to liven things up. Here's his goal for you: https://t.co/ee99KkfzwL— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 8, 2016
The goal was Ronaldo's 90th in the competition—the most of any player.
The competition's official Twitter account and Bleacher Report UK marked the impressive milestone:
Cristiano Ronaldo: 6 consecutive seasons with 40+ goals in all competitions for Real Madrid 🙌 pic.twitter.com/6xqfX7670B— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) March 8, 2016
In spite of his goal, Spanish football expert Sergi Dominguez gave some insight into why the Madrid fans were unhappy with his overall performance:
How can some classify Ronaldo as the greatest goalscorer of all time when he needed 14 shots to score 1 goal tonight?— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) March 8, 2016
So too did beIN Sports' Matteo Bonetti, who noted that while Ronaldo put on a showcase of his skills, his showboating often had little end product:
Ronaldo's doing things you see from a teenager playing FIFA who just learned the five star dribbles on the trick stick.— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) March 8, 2016
Oliver Kay of the Times believed the booing showed the fans to be ungrateful for all he's done at the club, though:
Cristiano Ronaldo booed by some Real Madrid fans last night? 353 goals in 6.5 yrs not good enough? Zidane, Iker etc had it too. What a crowd— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) March 9, 2016
It's important to note that not all the Madridistas took part even in Ronaldo's most frustrating moments of the match, per Corrigan:
Gotta be 3-0 - after great work from James and Lucas V, but Ronaldo side-foots wide from eight yards. Generous applause as he walks back.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) March 8, 2016
Real's fans have always demanded perfection from their biggest stars, with sentimentality or the legendary status of a player rarely making them exempt from vocal criticism.
Does Ronaldo deserve to be criticised?
Barcelona's return to power over the last decade and the stunning football they're able to produce week-in, week-out likely hasn't helped matters, particularly in seasons such as this with Los Blancos' struggles often providing a sharp contrast between the two.
It's not the first time Ronaldo has been singled out this season—the forward was described as a "mercenary" by some angry fans after their derby defeat to Atletico Madrid in February—and because of his own incredibly high standards, he perhaps shoulders more responsibility for the team's failings in the eyes of supporters.
The Portuguese may be able to answer some of his critics when Real play Las Palmas on Sunday, but unless he's able to perform consistently—something he's struggled to do this year—he'll continue to attract whistles from certain sections of the Bernabeu faithful.