Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that the Real Madrid team remain behind Cristiano Ronaldo despite his infamous outburst in the aftermath of their 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
The Portuguese made international headlines after claiming that "if all my team-mates were at my level, we might be first.”
He said that soon after the disastrous defeat to their city rivals, which left Los Blancos cut adrift from La Liga leaders Barcelona. The 31-year-old also rejected claims that his own form had fallen from their high standards amid claims that he has failed to perform against tough opposition.
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"I do not want to belittle anyone but when they are not the best it is difficult to win. I like to play with Karim [Benzema], [Gareth] Bale and Marcelo," he said.
"I do not mean that Jese, Lucas [Vazquez] and [Mateo] Kovacic are not good, they are very good, but to win a competition you need the best and that has been our main problem this year.”
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Said in the heat of the moment, Ronaldo appeared to backtrack on the comments almost immediately, claiming that very same evening that they had been taken out of context. It is also reported that he addressed his Real Madrid team-mates before training on Monday to explain himself.
'We are all with him'
Now, Zidane has claimed that the issue has been solved, confirming that Ronaldo did indeed speak to his fellow players as well as himself to try and right his wrongs.
“Cristiano has spoken to everyone, me and everyone. We know the importance of Cris and we all are with him,” said the Madrid boss, according to Goal.
“The issue with Cristiano has been sorted. We are going to fix this all together. From the inside, not outside.”
Much to fix
Zidane was speaking ahead of Real Madrid's La Liga visit to Levante on Wednesday as the ten-time European champions look to reassert themselves in the title race. Now 12 points behind Barcelona, it seems inconceivable that the title will be heading to the Bernabeu this season even if they win all of their remaining fixtures.
The priority will be surmounting Atletico Madrid in second place and the Champions League where they are overwhelming favourites to qualify for the quarter-finals after their 2-0 victory away to AS Roma in the first leg.
Ronaldo scored in that away tie, temporarily silencing critics with a deflected shot against Wojciech Szczesny before Jese Rodriguez doubled the lead. However, he was out of touch against Atletico Madrid and the fact remains that many of his 22 La Liga goals have been scored against struggling sides. Eight came against relegation candidates Espanyol while six of his 12 Champions League goals were scored across two games against Swedish minnows Malmo.
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