Attacking midfielder James Rodriguez was delighted to help Real Madrid secure their spot in the Champions League quarter-finals, despite being booed by the home crowd.
James’ recent performances have drawn the ire of the Santiago Bernabeu faithful and he was on the wrong end of their scorn early on during Madrid’s 2-0 second-leg win over Roma on Tuesday.
But those boos turned to cheers when James scored the second goal, which saw the Spanish giants progress with a 4-0 aggregate win.
James said the fans were within their rights to voice their opinion.
“The fans want a nice game and when not everything goes so well, they have every right to boo,” he said.
“I just try to play well, and they know when it is right and when it is wrong.
“The whistles are part of football.”
Madrid’s progression was rarely in doubt, though they did face one scare when Roma forward Edin Dzeko missed a crucial one-on-one opportunity, and James said his club’s qualification was well earned.
“It was deserved. The Italian teams are always strong but I think we deserved to win, and now we have to think about the next round,” he said.
James reserved special praise for coach Zinedine Zidane and said he was proud to contribute on the scoresheet, after Cristiano Ronaldo had broken the deadlock.
“Zidane takes care of every player and I have always tried to give my best. I try every day to grow more and to help the team so we can do well,” he continued.
“I scored today but I’m going to keep on working hard every day, because Real Madrid is a very demanding club.”
The win is a welcome distraction from the club’s domestic woes, with Madrid trailing league leaders Barcelona by 12 points.