Antony hits back at criticism from 'former club players' and 'others in the media' during interview
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Manchester United winger Antony has issued a defiant response to ongoing criticism from "former clubs players and other people in the media" during a recent interview.
The 23-year-old Brazilian, who became the second most expensive signing in United's history last year – when he joined from Ajax for £86 million – has shown glimpses of brilliance since the big-money move.
He announced his arrival at Old Trafford by scoring on his much-anticipated debut against Arsenal, and would later describe the moment as "perfect".
Other memorable moments include winning United's goal of the season award for his half-volley against Barcelona in the Europa League.
But his flakey form under Erik ten Hag, especially of late, has drawn plenty of criticism from fans and pundits.
Dimitar Berbatov, for example, urged the Brazilian to go back to basics, saying he needed to stop doing “stupid things like tricks that are not beneficial for the team”.
“Right now, it’s not working well for Antony, so my piece of advice would be to keep it simple, don’t overcomplicate stuff," Berbatov told Betfair in January.
"The moment you start thinking you’re Ronaldinho or Zidane while you’re struggling in games, you’re going to suffer even more."
Now, Antony has hit out at those who have made “unfair and malicious" criticisms towards him.
Speaking to The United Stand, he said: "Pressure has always been with us for those who play in big clubs, especially regarding United.
“My life has always been very challenging, and I have had to go through many situations that many cannot imagine. I grew up in a hostile place, where eating, having a good house, having the internet, and access to a good education were a privilege; I would say that for us on the ‘favelas,’ all of these were a luxury few people could have.
“This was a period in which I learned to deal with pressure and challenges. The pressure of life. Today, I see criticism coming from former club players and other people in the media, who unreasonably express their opinions and influence thousands of fans, sometimes even when I do not play.
"But I’ve never seen them give constructive criticism, which will help me be a better professional."
Antony added: “None of them have ever sent me a message to see how I am feeling, especially during this period of turbulence that I am going through. The ‘digital court’ is ruining lives; contexts are left aside, and the truth no longer matters.
“I am silently rebuilding myself, and I know that I will be able to be in my best physical and mental shape and overcome all these barriers and challenges that are in front of me because it has always been like this in my life; no one has ever given me anything, I have always fought hard for everything I achieved.
“I would like to know how these people who make these unfair and malicious criticisms fared in my place. I’m 23 years old, and my life has changed radically in the last four years. It wasn’t easy to assimilate and understand all those changes.
“My daily battle is getting back in my best shape and performing at the highest level on the field, regaining my integrity, and having peace of mind.
"I advise those young players to take care of their mental side and work hard; then, things will happen naturally.”
Thoughts on Antony's latest interview? Let us know in the comments.