Did Cristiano Ronaldo just call soccer fans clowns?

Ronaldo compared empty stadiums to a garden without flowers… or a circus without clowns.

Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t like playing in empty stadiums. But when he spoke to the media after Portugal’s 2-0 victory over Sweden in UEFA Nation’s League on Tuesday, he made a suggestion that is sure to elicit some raised eyebrows and stifled laughs.

“To play football without fans is like going to the circus and not seeing clowns,” Ronaldo said. “Or a garden without flowers.”

While soccer games are continuing across Europe, fans are not allowed in stadiums due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Players and fans alike are eager for sports to return to normal. But comparing your fans to clowns may not be the smartest move to keep the people on your side.

Fortunately for him, Ronaldo has never been one to shy away from the haters.

“It’s sad. I like when I’m jeered in away matches,” Ronaldo added. “It motivates me.”

Ronaldo finds success for Portugal in UEFA Nation’s League

Ronaldo scored both goals for Portugal in their 2-0 win over Sweden on Tuesday, lifting him to over 100 international goals.

His first goal came in the 45th minute, right after Gustav Svensson was sent off for Sweden with a red card. He took a free-kick about thirty yards out and slotted the ball into the top corner. His second goal came in the 72nd minute, where he went relatively unmarked in the box and was able to easily slot the ball past the Swedish goalkeeper.

Ronaldo now sits at 101 international goals. He is close to beating the record of Ali Daei of Iran, who has the most international goals in the men’s game with 109. Christine Sinclair of Canada holds the all-time international goals record with 186 (and still going).

Portugal will return to UEFA Nation’s League play at the beginning of October, with matches against Spain and France. Ronaldo will return to action with Juventus on Sept. 20, when the team opens their Serie A campaign against Sampdoria.