Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has hit back at criticism he's faced over his lack of goals for his club so far this season, pinning the blame on referee Ricardo de Burgos Benoetxea. The officiator sent Ronaldo off in the Super Cup first-leg game against Barcelona in August, which saw the Portuguese legend earn a hefty four-match suspension.
In an interview with French outlet L'Equipe, via Sport, the 32-year-old addressed his uncharacteristic scoring record of one goal in seven league appearances, and singled out his controversial suspension as pivotal in his lack of scoring form. Ronaldo stated:
"Things are going to change, I am not worried. I don't agree with what people are saying about me. People don't know the difference between playing well, playing OK and not scoring goals.
"I'm looked at as a goal machine, like a guy who has to score all the time. If that isn't the case, nobody cares if I've played well or not, I'm only judged on scoring. I accept the criticism, but I don't agree with it. That's why I avoid reading or hearing what is said about me. But I have no choice but to accept it; I can't control the world.
"I was really, really motivated to start the season. But when some people deprive you of going on the pitch, of expression...The way in which it happened disappointed me. What happened was a huge mistake by the referee."
Ronaldo faces such scrutiny over his goalscoring form due to his impeccable career record. To date, the Madeiran magician has scored 414 goals in 407 games for Real Madrid. His hugely successful time with Los Blancos has seen him become arguably the best player in the world, winning two league titles and three Champions League trophies with the La Liga giants.