Spain boss Vicente del Bosque insists he was not referring to Cristiano Ronaldo when he remarked “Coaches are almost slaves from the tyranny of players”.
Ronaldo has been exempt from the rotation policies imposed by Rafa Benitez and Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid this season, with injury enforcing his absence against Rayo Vallecano on Saturday and the situation prompting parallels between the No 7 and Del Bosque’s claim – one which he has since denied.
“It’s a phrase taken out of context,” he said upon receiving an award at a hospital in Santander, Marca reports.
“It’s true that I made a point, but I did so without naming anyone, although there’s always someone trying to make me confront Real Madrid and spite me.
“When I was at Real Madrid, I had [Zinedine] Zidane, [Fernando] Hierro, Raul [Gonzalez], [Luis] Figo … I’d rest them and nothing happened.
“Now it seems that it’s become rather difficult for Coaches to handle [big names].
“Still, I didn’t refer to anyone specifically, but we know that there’s someone always trying to make me confront Real Madrid, and it’s something they won’t achieve.
“[On Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos], the atmosphere in the national team and dressing room has always been healthy, except for the episodes which I already know about and were a little complicated.
“Still, it’s always been good and I hope we’re all at the level that the shirt demands at the next European Championship.”