Karim Benzema has hit back at negativity surrounding his recent performances, claiming "people have always criticised great players".
In terms of goals at least, the 30-year-old Real Madrid forward is enduring his worst season personally since moving to the Spanish capital in 2009. He has netted just five times in 26 outings, with fans and media reports tipping him for the exit to make way for new blood, after nine seasons with Los Blancos.
However, the three-time Champions League winner has not lost confidence in his own ability despite a difficult campaign, defending himself as 'great' in a revealing interview with Vanity Fair, while insisting paper talk does not affect him.
"I play football and I try to help my teammates and to win everything there is to win, but I don't care if my name is in the papers, it doesn't mean anything," the 81-cap France international said.
"What I don't like is when people attack me when I play well, even if I don't score. I play for the people who value what I do on the pitch."
Addressing the infamous whistles that he and his teammates have received from notoriously hard to please fans at the Santiago Bernabeu, Benzema was blunt in his response.
"Those that come to the stadium to whistle, let them whistle. I'm not going to change their opinion," he continued.
"People have always criticised great players. We sell newspapers. I don't need to read the press to know when I've have a bad game."
Speaking about the 'BBC' trinity of himself, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, the former Lyon striker joked about about recent criticism, while admitting his relationship with his teammates is more professional than personal.
"We are all friends. But I can not tell you that we go out to dinner together, we are friends at work," he revealed.
While Benzema's time in front of goal has been trying this season, manager Zindine Zidane publicly backed his forward, after the 1-2 win over Malaga on Sunday night.
Karim Benzema on why he refuses to sing the French national anthem: "If you listen properly, La Marseillaise is a call to war, I do not like that." (Vanity Fair)— Get French Football (@GFFN) April 17, 2018
"It's been a complicated season in terms of goals for Benzema," Zidane explained. "He'd like to score, and he's had chances, he played very well tonight, but he lacked a goal. He's not going to give up."