After losing the Madrid derby to Atletico 1-0 on Saturday, a result that ended Real’s title hopes, Cristiano Ronaldo had no doubt who was responsible for the Spanish giants disastrous domestic season.
‘If everyone else was at my level maybe we would be top of the table.’
Reporters had suggested Ronaldo had not produced his best this season and he responded:
‘I am annoyed because it feels like you are persecuting me. [You say] ‘Cristiano has dropped his level and that is why Madrid [are suffering]’. No. If everyone was at my level, maybe we would be top.
‘You lot are often very unfair. Always here in Spain, through the years it seems that I am s*** but the truth is the numbers do not lie, the statistics never lie. Look at the statistics, it is not hard to do.’
Ronaldo later tried to backtrack on his comments by telling Marca:
‘I meant [my level] physically. I do not think I am better than my team-mates.’ But the comments are still likely to damage an already notoriously divided dressing room especially as the rant seemed to target players who have come into the side for its injured stars.
‘I don’t want to undermine anyone because all the players at Madrid are good players,’ he said. ‘But to win the league you need your best players. We are missing [Karim] Benzema, Pepe, Marcelo and [Gareth] Bale. I’m not saying that those who play in their place are not as good but you always miss your best players.
‘I like to play alongside Karim [Benzema] for example. I like to play alongside Bale. I like to play alongside Marcelo and when Marcelo is not there it is more difficult.
‘I am not saying Danilo [Marcelo’s replacement] … he was the best on the pitch today. But through the whole season it is difficult. That is not to say that Jese and Lucas [Vazquez] and Mateo Kovacic are not good. They are very good, but… .’
Before blaming his teammates, Ronaldo should take a good look at his own form this season. On Saturday he failed once again to score against a top team, despite having two very good chances, the kind he used to bury.
Ronaldo is not the same player he was 18 months ago, and with a transfer ban looming it will be interesting to see what Real Madrid decides to do with him this summer. Do they decide to sell him and build the team around Bale, or do they keep him knowing that they have committed to having CR7 as the focal point of the team for the next two season?