Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cole: I Really Don't Care What Fans Say about Me

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cole: I Really Don't Care What Fans Say about Me

Article excerpt

Byline: Henry Swarbrick and Simon Johnson

ASHLEY COLE claims he couldn't care less what fans think of him as long as he has the approval of his manager and team-mates.

Despite being one of the world's best left-backs, Cole has become a target for abuse from opposition supporters since he controversially moved to Chelsea from rivals Arsenal in 2006.

His public image took a battering when he revealed in his autobiography that he almost crashed his car when discovering Arsenal were only offering him a [pounds sterling]55,000-a-week deal.

Stories about his private life, coupled with his high-profile split from pop star and X Factor judge Cheryl Cole, further damaged his profile.

But the 29-year-old no longer cares about being popular. "I probably would say I've changed, now I'm a little bit more relaxed and go with the flow," he said.

"My job is to play football, what people think about me about off-the-field stuff or 'I don't like him' and things like that, they don't know me.

"People who know me know I'm not greedy. As long as my family's happy, my manager's happy and my teammates are happy, then I'll be happy. "When I started at Arsenal, I was a young guy just playing for the team I supported, so then you are just happy. You don't know what you are getting yourself into in football, you think it's all happy and all fun.

"You have to be able to take the good with the bad and I've had my bad times. But I just want to keep playing football, winning things and one day look back and say 'you know what? I've had a good career'."

Despite winning the Premier League title with both Arsenal and Chelsea, the Champions League is still missing from Cole's CV but he insists domestic success is still his priority. "To win the Premier league is what I want to do every year. To be champions of England is a great achievement, especially with how good this league is," said Cole, whose side play at Liverpool on Sunday.

"There are a lot of players who said we had our fingers on the Champions League [in Moscow] and that it was taken away from us, so that's in the back of our minds, and there are players here who want to win it because we've not done that. …

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