defender speaks out

Evra leaps to defence of former team-mate Ronaldo

September 30, 2009

Manchester United defender Patrice Evra has leapt to the defence of former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, insisting the Portugal star is portrayed unjustly by the media.

Ronaldo celebrates Real Madrid's opener
GettyImages / Alejandro GonzalezRonaldo: Real record-breaker

Ronaldo has had a fantastic start to his Real Madrid career, scoring seven goals in six games since his world record transfer from United. However, he continues to be criticised for his arrogance but Evra claims that image has nothing to do with the real Ronaldo.

''He's not arrogant,'' Evra told L'Equipe. ''He suffers as a result of his image as a fashion guy but honestly, he's the greatest professional I have ever trained with. 'He never has enough of it. This lad has to be first everywhere in everything. If you play ping pong with him he can't stand losing.

''And in life, he's really a good guy. He's calm, he loves joking around, he really likes teasing people...In fact he's a bit like (David) Beckham. He's driven. They don't give themselves the right to make mistakes.''

Evra also dismissed accusations Ronaldo is a diver and goes down too easily following tackles.

He added: ''There has also been a lot of fouls against him which were never given because of his reputation. When you look at the tackles he gets each game, well quite frankly the lad has reason to dive...if not he would break himself. After okay, he reacts badly. We also used to tease him.''

Evra spent three and a half years with Ronaldo at Old Trafford and admits the 24-year-old changed as he became more well known.

''Yes he changed,'' continued the France defender. ''At the end he had even more hunger, trained even more. Because he needed to be the best. I don't know he will act at Real.

''At United no-one plays the star. When you're with people such as Ryan Giggs or Paul Scholes, legends of this club, you can't. It's impossible.''