Cristiano Ronaldo speaks out and causes a stir

Real Madrid’s defeat to Atlético was muddied even further in the aftermath of the game because of Cristiano Ronaldo’s comments, which have provided his many detractors with yet more ammunition with which to attack him. Knowing the score as I do, I’m convinced he wasn’t trying to undermine his teammates, but instead wanted to highlight the inherent problems with the team’s medical practices, which have been reeking havoc amongst the squad. The injuries are recurring, long lasting and not treated properly. However, the manner in which he presented his concerns was cowardly, he tripped over his words, especially the second time round, and as a result his message was misinterpreted and will - I regret to say - be remembered for a long time to come.

But his clumsy dealings with the media won’t affect life within the camp. He’ll explain himself to his teammates today and they’ll understand. Sergio Ramos has already thrown him a bone, giving him the benefit of the doubt. Inevitably people will remember this incident as a gross act of self-aggrandising by Cristiano. I get the impress he is consumed with the thought that he’s trapped in a madhouse while Messi can get on with playing within a well-oiled machine, over which he gets to exact a lot of control. It chips away at him each time Madrid lose a game and he is accused of not having scored the necessary goals. His ego is not equipped to handle the criticism and so he put his foot in it.

Things went from bad to worse for Madrid yesterday. As expected, Barca extended their lead even further (twelve points) and Villarreal climbed to within two points of Los Blancos, meaning that finishing third in the table could now be under threat. Fourth place would require playing in the Champions League qualifying phase, which would put an end to any plans of a preseason tour. I can imagine Florentino on tenterhooks at the prospect of that. The good news for the club was once again provided by the basketball team, through Sergio Llull’s sensational downtown winner against Valencia. The basketball section is the other side of the Real Madrid coin. As Florentino doesn’t presume to know anything about the sport, he has left it to those who do and, unsurprisingly, things are going well. The football team on the other hand is in the hands of an amateur.