Cristiano Ronaldo caused a stir after Real Madrid’s 1-0 defeat to local rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday by claiming Los Blancos might be top of La Liga if his teammates were all at his level.
"If everyone was as good as me, maybe we would be first,” the frustrated Portuguese international told reporters. “If a team does not play with the best is difficult to win a long competition. I don't want to insult anyone.”
His Real Madrid teammates could be forgiven if they felt offended by Ronaldo’s post-match remarks, but Sergio Ramos said in the mixed zone that his teammate had probably just expressed himself badly.
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Surprised by the comments, Ramos was quoted as saying by Spanish newspaper AS: "Everyone is free to express their own opinions as they see fit. As the captain, all I can say is that I am very proud of all of my teammates, and that includes the younger ones like Lucas Vázquez and Jesé and I know Cristiano feels the same way.
“In difficult moments, those of us who have been here for longer have to really hammer that home. I know Cris very well, maybe he didn't express himself as he would have liked. If he really thought that, he would have said so before but I have never heard those words coming from his mouth during the time I've known him.“
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Ronaldo bemoaned Benzema and Bale's absence
In his post-match rant, Ronaldo had also commented: “I do like playing with Karim [Benzema], with [Gareth] Bale, Marcelo, I am not saying that others are not good, for example Danilo has today been the best on the pitch.
“From what the press says it seems like I am doing sh*t but the numbers and statistics do not lie. They are there.”
Ramos: Perhaps Ronaldo will clarify his comments
And Ramos believes that Ronaldo was clumsy with his words, rather than deliberately being big-headed or malicious. The World Cup-winning defender feels Cristiano was bemoaning the fact the likes of Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, two of the team’s superstars, were out injured.
"Those words were not exactly what he was referring to,” Ramos added. “I haven't heard much of what he said but what Cris meant was that the team is not at its best because of the injury problems we've had - with Karim and Bale - players who are normally first choice but who are out of the team because of fitness problems.
“It's not that we don't have any other players. All of us are very proud of the younger lads coming through - players like Lucas Vázquez or Jesé who would kill for a place in the side. He expressed himself badly but I know him well, I don't know whether today or tomorrow, he'll come out to explain what he really meant to say".
Was Cristiano Ronaldo out of order with his post-match comments - or did he have a point? Have your say by leaving a comment below.