Ronaldo attitude criticised by San Jose
Athletic Bilbao's Mikel San Jose reacted to Cristiano Ronaldo's constant complaining during Real Madrid's feisty 3-0 win at San Mames on Sunday by saying he would have more respect for the attacker if he just concentrated on playing football.
Ronaldo was the centre of attention throughout, opening the scoring with a superb early free-kick, powering in a headed second goal and laying on the third for substitute Gonzalo Higuain.
The Portugal international also spent much of the game complaining about over-physical attention from Athletic players and abuse from the home fans, which San Jose suggested he had deserved for some over-the-top histrionics.
"I think it, and so do the majority of people in football," he said. "If he just concentrated on playing football, and not on other things, he would be the same or an even better player, but I would have more respect for him."
Los Blancos assistant coach Aitor Karanka, who spent a total of eight seasons in Bilbao as a player, talked down the physical side of the game, but said Ronaldo had answered his critics with a match-winning performance.
"Football is for men and even more in San Mames," Karanka said. "He played the match he did and scored twice. Athletic's players did what they needed to do. Cristiano did well in a tough atmosphere and has once again shown the type of player he is. He scored two goals that won us the match."
Ronaldo was not motivated by opposition fans' abuse, but by scoring goals and winning games, according to Jose Mourinho's assistant.
"Those who know him know how he is," Karanka said. "Sometimes you have to put up with things you do not like. He is dedicated to playing and scoring goals, that is what he does."
Sergio Ramos, flattened by Basque left-back Jon Aurtenetxe at one point, said that he or fellow Madrid defender Pepe would have been sent off had they tried some of the challenges which Athletic players got away with.
"I am not complaining," Ramos said. "This is a game for men, with contact, and there is a referee to keep a bit of order. But if Pepe or I had done the challenge they put in on me, it would have been at least a red card. They see us differently. We knew who we were playing and they like to go into challenges. It was like that with Julen Guerrero or [Ismael] Urzaiz and it is still the same. We knew we would come up against an opponent like this. We showed how well we can play in the second half."
Madrid were deserved winners on their last visit to the old stadium, which is being demolished in the summer, with Athletic moving to a new ground nearby for next season.
Xabi Alonso, a former player of Athletic's Basque rivals Real Sociedad, said his last game at San Mames had been "special" and set Madrid up for challenges to come, including their Champions League semi-final clashes with Borussia Dortmund.
"Coming here knowing it was the last time was special," Alonso said. "Whenever I have played here I have enjoyed it. I am going to miss it, but you have to move forward. They have an intense way of playing, marking tightly all over the field and were very competitive in the first half. In the second half we had more and more control, and after the second goal we took complete control. It was a good result, which is what we wanted to stay in second place. Now the good stuff is coming, the big games, and we come into them on top form, but we have to take things step by step."