Speaking ahead of Saturday’s match against Deportivo La Coruna, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has refused to be drawn into the debate surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo’s 30th birthday party following last weekend’s 4-0 derby defeat to Atletico Madrid.
Ronaldo has faced backlash from supporters (with some showing up at training to voice their displeasure), as well as a stern talking to from team captain Iker Casillas and club president Florentino Perez.
When asked about the controversy surrounding Ronaldo’s bash, Ancelotti continued with his usual “middle ground” approach that has served him well since arriving in Madrid in 2013.
“It’s not an issue for me to comment on,” the Real Madrid manager said during today’s pre-match press conference. “I have never meddled in player’s private lives and I’m not going to start now.”
“Players can do what they want out of work. The only problem is when others see it as a lack of professionalism but these players have shown that they are professional and committed – they demonstrated that last season when they won several trophies.”
“They have a great responsibility in representing the Madrid shirt and I value all of them as professionals – that has never been a doubt in my mind.”
It is understood that Iker Casillas and vice-captain Sergio Ramos asked Ronaldo to postpone or cancel the birthday celebration following Real Madrid’s 4-0 hammering by their city rivals, but the Ballon d’Or winner went on with the party as planned.
Casillas and Ramos did not attend the event, but members of the staff and some players did. Once photos and videos of the party were seen online, they were met with immediate backlash in Spain. Supporters made their way to the club’s training ground on Monday to shout and display signs of their disapproval, and club president Florentino Perez attended training to have a face-to-face confrontation with the team and Ancelotti.
“The president expressed his concern but also his confidence in the team,” Ancelotti responded when asked about Perez’s appearance at training.
Real Madrid have been dealing with adversity since returning from the winter break. Poor performances, fatigue, unrest between teammates and injuries have taken a toll on what was turning out to be a historical season for the royal whites.
Since winning 22 straight matches in all competitions, Los Blancos have won five, lost three and drawn once. Their once vaunted attack has softened and their league lead has been cut to a single point over second place Barcelona.
“I can understand the fans’ frustration because we feel exactly the same as they do,” Ancelotti said when asked about the team’s current state. “But that should serve to motivate us to improve.”
“From what I have seen in training this week, the players have reacted well and have been working without problems. I hope to see them react against Depor tomorrow.”
Programming note: Real Madrid vs. Deportivo La Coruna will be shown LIVE on Saturday starting at 11:55am EST on beIN SPORTS and DishWorld.
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