Rafa Benitez admits he and Cristiano Ronaldo “are still adapting to each other” ahead of Real Madrid’s trip to Villarreal in La Liga on Sunday.
Much has been said about the pair’s relationship, with Ronaldo reportedly making known his frustrations about Benitez’s methods earlier in the season, but the Coach insists his understanding with the No 7 will only get stronger as the season progresses.
“[Sergio] Ramos is able to play,” he said at a Press conference.
“[Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo] are different cases because of the injury to Karim, but both are very important.
“Benzema is more than just goals and assists. We asked him to be more ambitious in front of goal and he’s doing that. Both players need confidence and we’re giving it to them.
“[Ronaldo and I] are still getting to know each other and adapting to each other, and being together in training and on away trips is surely productive and beneficial to the team.
“I won’t go into detail about [Ronaldo’s] problems because only he can speak about them, but he’s always given me good performances and now scoring goals again.
“I’m calm because [the goals] boost his confidence and will help him score more.
“The team are looking good, with confidence and working well. They’re a very good group of professionals and our recent results have been very good.
“We know Villarreal will be a tough game, they’re very well-drilled opponents, but we want to get the three points and give joy to our fans.
“[On Madrid’s chances of winning the title], as I said earlier [in the season], the top teams will drop points and it’ll be a close battle until the very end.
“We’ll fight [for the title] until then, and only then will we take stock [of our progress].
“[Villarreal boss Marcelino] is my friend and a great Coach, and Denis [Suarez] is one of their most dangerous players, but we’re only looking at what we can do. We have to prepare well.
“I’m not surprise [by Pepe’s upturn in form]. I knew he was a good player and pro [before I came], he contributes to the dressing room and helps a lot with his experience.
“I’m happy he’s overcome his injury. He’s helping us out at the moment and we hope he can for the rest of the season.
“[Gareth Bale] adapts to different positions and interchanges with his fellow teammates, while giving assists and scoring goals. He’s a key player for us.
“What concerns me the most [about Benzema’s off-field issues] is Karim.
“The club released a statement and I said we’d support Karim. He’s a great person and I want him to continue scoring goals, and he’s been quiet and helping the team.
“We know Villarreal will be a benchmark to confirm what the team have shown in our last few games.
“For us, it’s a challenge and an added stimulus to get three points there.
“[On Isco], I’m convinced that I’m going to be asked these questions until the end of season.
“It’s better when there is competition among our players. I’ll decide whether or not he plays, but everyone must be prepared for the next match.
“The team are defending well and recovering the ball quickly. There are many positive things, but the challenge is to keep them and prolong them for as long as possible.
“I think we have enough quality thanks to our competitiveness, which is very high.
“I’m delighted with Casemiro, he must fight for his place and that’s good for the team.
“[On the TAD appeal], I refer to the club’s statement.”