• Real Madrid forward reacts to hostile reception in Croatia
• Portugal star makes no mention of reputation for play-acting
Cristiano Ronaldo has reacted to being booed by Dinamo Zagreb supporters on Wednesday night by claiming that the hostile reception the Real Madrid playmaker receives from opposing fans is only because he is "rich, handsome and a great player". The Portuguese made no mention of his reputation for play-acting and diving.
The 26-year-old drew particular notoriety for his wink when his then Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney was sent off during England's defeat to Portugal in the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup. Ronaldo did not subsequently receive the tournament's award for the best young player due to a concerted email campaign from England fans, with Fifa's technical study group awarding the honour to Germany's Lukas Podolski, while citing Ronaldo's behaviour as a factor in the decision.
Five years on from this incident Ronaldo, speaking after Wednesday's 1-0 Champions League win at Dinamo Zagreb, cited only his success and appearance as reasons why he is jeered. He also stated that he was angry regarding a lack of protection from referees. In the Group D opener in Croatia he was the target of some tough challenges, including one that drew blood on his right ankle.
Asked about the behaviour of the Dinamo fans, who gave him a welcome that the Portuguese can attract on a regular basis each week in La Liga, he said: "I think that because I am rich, handsome and a great player people are envious of me. I don't have any other explanation. We are very happy with the three points we took, but I'm not so satisfied with the refereeing.
"I hope we never have this referee again. People talk of fair play, of protecting good players, but I never get any of that. I don't understand a thing. I'm sad because I hear referees saying they will protect skilful players, but while some are untouchable it seems I can be mauled."