Sergio Ramos insists he is “proud” of Real Madrid’s youngsters, despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s hint that they were not up to par against Atletico Madrid.
Jese Rodriguez, Lucas Vazquez and Mateo Kovacic were singled out by Ronaldo after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Atleti, the Portuguese drawing breath in his assessment of the trio, but Ramos is impressed with the commitment they have shown.
“Everyone’s free to say what they want,” the defender said after the game.
“I know [Ronaldo] well and don’t think he wanted to shift the blame to any of his teammates.
“We’re proud of everyone in the squad, including the hard work and graft of those who get less minutes.
"Players like Lucas Vazquez, Jese and Borja [Mayoral] are giving everything because they know what it takes to get here, but Cris is free to give his opinion.
“Maybe he thinks like me, but he expressed it in the way he did. Maybe his words were taken out of context…
“As captain, all I can say is that I’m proud of everyone. Now we must be more united. We need the affection and sacrifice of everyone.
“The result wasn’t good and left me feeling very hurt, but I’ve never liked seeking refuge in excuses.
“I want us to focus on the remaining part of the season, improve on these failures and concentrate on the Champions League.
“Any more defeats could see us eliminated [from the CL], so we must be very vigilant.”