Former Real Madrid player defends Ronaldo!

Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria says he cannot understand why people are so quick to criticise Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portugal captain has been on the receiving end of whistles from the fans at the Santiago Bernabeu after struggling to find form in 2017.

Ronaldo was most recently targeted by some sections of supporters during the 3-0 win over Real Sociedad last month, despite registering a goal and an assist to help the leaders cement their place at the top of LaLiga.

Di Maria believes compatriot Lionel Messi is unfairly scrutinised in the same way and has backed his former Madrid team-mate to recapture his “spark” soon.

When asked about the criticism of Ronaldo, he told Marca: “It’s exaggerated. He’s given so much to Madrid, like many others. They’ve won two Champions Leagues and people forget a little about that, they always want more.

“Messi has had the same thing. They say he doesn’t score goals, he’s not like before, but overnight there’s a spark and the goals start to flow. I don’t understand how Cristiano can be questioned.”

Di Maria, who was himself booed towards the end of his successful stint in the Spanish capital, believes Karim Benzema has shown the best way to deal with the demands of the Bernabeu crowd.

“Benzema looks stronger to me. Even though these things happen, he likes to play and enjoy himself,” he said.

“Danilo looks a bit different, it’s a bit harder for him, and his head affects him a bit more. He must think about enjoying himself and being positive when he is playing.

“It happened to me many times, I had some ugly moments at Madrid, but it all changed and when I left Madrid in the end I was much loved.”

Di Maria now hopes to force a showdown with his former club in the final of the Champions League, with PSG set to take on Barcelona in the last-16 first leg next week.

“I think PSG can compete with Madrid or Barcelona,” said the 28-year-old, who faced Madrid in the group stage in 2015-16. “Last year’s Champions League match against Madrid was very even in Paris and I think we had a great game at the Bernabeu.

“It was nice to go back to the Bernabeu and say hello to everyone. Hopefully we can eliminate Barcelona and I’ll play against Madrid again in this Champions League.”