Cristiano Ronaldo has apologised to his Real Madrid team-mates for claiming they are not at his level, according to reports in Spain.
Following Real’s 1-0 defeat to Atlético Madrid at the weekend, a result that leaves them third in La Liga, four points behind their city rivals and 12 points off leaders Barcelona, Ronaldo was quoted by the Press Association as saying: “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.”
Real centre-back Sergio Ramos defended his team-mate soon after the comments were made, saying: “I know Cristiano well and I don’t think he was trying to shift the blame onto any of his team-mates,” and the player himself has now also apparently moved to ease any offence his colleagues may have taken from his assessment of their abilities.
According to El Mundo, Ronaldo apologised to his team-mates via WhatsApp, and in an interview with Marca, the 31-year-old is reported as saying: “I was referring to the physical level, not level of play. I am not better than any of my team-mates.”