Cristiano Ronaldo made a surprise admission in mid-week, following his four goals in the Champions League against Malmo.
"I’ve been below my level," he admitted. "But I’ve had things going on. I’m happy with the situation now but at the start of the season I have had personal problems." When pushed, he refused to elaborate. "they stay with me," he said.
Inevitably there's been plenty of speculation about what might be going on behind the scenes with the Portuguese superstar. His strike rate in front of goal has been slightly down this term - although it remains impressive; 21 goals in 22 games across all competitions for club and country - while there's been plenty of speculation regarding a summer move away from the Bernabeu.
One of the reported reasons for his unhappiness is his relationship with Real Madrid boss Rafa Benitez. It's previously been claimed that Ronaldo was unimpressed with the former Liverpool manager's appointment, and he's cut a frustrated figure this term as Madrid struggle in La Liga, five points adrift of Barcelona albeit with a game in hand.
It's hardly a surprise then, that Benitez refused to risk jeopardising his relationship with Ronaldo further when asked about the forward's 'personal problems'.
Ever the diplomat, Benitez refused to reveal any further informational about his star player, and insisted all he cared about was his performances on the pitch. He also admitted that he and Ronaldo are still 'adating" to each other.
“[Ronaldo and I] are still getting to know each other and adapting to each other, and being together in training and on away trips is surely productive and beneficial to the team," he said. “I’m not going to go into details about his problems because it is him that has talked about it. For me he has always put in good performances and now it’s paying off.
"Now that he is scoring I’m calm because that will give him more confidence and help him to score even more."
Unsurprisingly, there's been more speculation over Ronaldo this morning after he hinted that his future in Spain is not set in stone. Real Madrid will have the chance to capitalise on Barcelona's 2-2 draw against Deportivo La Coruna when they take on Villarreal this evening.
What do you think are the real reasons behind Ronaldo's struggles this season?
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