Cristiano Ronaldo has launched an astonishing criticism of his team-mates after Real Madrid lost 1-0 to local rivals Atletico, claiming: “If we were all at my level maybe we would be leaders.”
Antoine Griezmann hit the only goal of the game in the 53rd minute to give Atletico a third consecutive league win at the Bernabeu, strengthening their grip on second place in La Liga and stretching their lead over Real to four points.
Speaking to reporters in the mixed zone after the game, Ronaldo criticised the performance of his team-mates and lamented the absence of injured players Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Pepe and Karim Benzema, with the latter forced off at half-time with a hip problem.
“If we were all at my level, maybe we would be leaders,” Ronaldo told Marca.
“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, with Bale, with Marcelo.
“I’m not saying the others like Lucas [Vazquez], Jese and [Mateo] Kovacic are not good players – they are very good players – but it’s not the same.”
The Portuguese also hit out at the assembled journalists for their perceived criticism of his form, as he once again failed to score against a top-five La Liga side.
“For all you guys it seems I am s***, but I don’t listen to what the press say,” Ronaldo added. “The statistics and numbers don’t lie.”
In a later interview with Marca, Ronaldo sought to clarify his comments about his team-mates, saying: “I was referring to the physical level, not level of play. I am not better than any of my team-mates.”