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Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Arbeloa: We're all backing Ronaldo

Dermot Corrigan, Spain Correspondent, and ESPN staff

Real Madrid star Alvaro Arbeloa rallied behind team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo as he faced persistent questions about the attacker's future on Tuesday.

Ronaldo refused to celebrate either of his two goals for Madrid against Granada at the weekend, saying he was "sad" and wanted to leave the club.

The issue took a headline role at a press conference ostensibly held to discuss Spain's forthcoming World Cup qualifiers, with the presence of some of Ronaldo's team-mates making discussion about him inevitable.

Arbeloa told reporters: "I do not know what is going on with Cristiano. For us it was a surprise, just like for you - we heard about it after the game. At Madrid, we are a family and we will support him with whatever he needs, just as we would do with Ozil, Essien or anyone else.

"I have not heard talk of money, of more years [on his contract], or that he wants to go. He knows that he is at the best club in the world - which is where a player like Cristiano, who is a phenomenon, should be. He is our marquee player.

"I believe he will be at Madrid for many years. If he is lacking any affection from us, he will get it. My relationship with him is very good, and from what I see it is the same with the rest of the team.

"Although it is true that he does not have the problems of many Spanish people - unemployment, the economy - he has other reasons to not be at his best and that is reasonable. He is a person like everyone else, with his good and bad moments."

Arbeloa said "everyone has the right to be sad some days - you cannot be happy 365 days a year", adding: Money does not bring happiness, that is certain".

He said players, fans and the club as a whole would rally round Ronaldo in an attempt to resolve the situation, adding that he did not believe the fans would have taken the Portugal star's comments badly.

Xavi Alonso was less forthcoming, saying: "I only speak for myself, but I am happy here. Each person is the way they are."

Meanwhile, Gonzalo Higuain, asked about the issue by journalists at an airport, told them Ronaldo had said nothing about his "sadness" in the dressing room. "I only heard about what happened through the media," he said.

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