Following Real’s 1-0 defeat to Atlético Madrid which left them 12 points off top-of-the-table Barcelona, Ronaldo had said: “If we were all at my level, maybe we would be leaders.
“I don’t want to disrespect anyone, but when the best players aren’t available it’s harder to win. I like to play with Karim [Benzema], with [Gareth] Bale, with Marcelo. I’m not saying the others like Lucas Vazquez, Jesé [Rodriguez] and Mateo Kovacic are not good players. They are very good players, but it’s not the same.”
Ronaldo later back-tracked on the comments, apologising to his team-mates via WhatsApp and telling Marca: “I was referring to the physical level, not level of play. I am not better than any of my team-mates.”
The Real coach Zidane said on Tuesday: “Cristiano has spoken to everyone, with me and all, the matter is past.
“We know the importance of Cristiano and we’re all with him. What’s important is what we have ahead of us and we’ll get through it together.”
Real’s captain Sergio Ramos also attempted to play the comments down, saying: “I know Cristiano well and I don’t think he was trying to shift the blame on to any of his team-mates.”
Real visit Levante on Wednesday with their hopes for La Liga written off and Zidane will make a number of changes after Luka Modric joined the injury list with an ankle problem, though Pepe is back in a 19-man squad.
Ramos and Dani Carvajal are rested while Marcelo, who has muscle fatigue, and Karim Benzema, with a thigh muscle problem, are out.
Bale rejoined his team-mates in practice for the first time since mid-January when he suffered a calf injury, but was not included and could return on Saturday at home to Celta Vigo.