Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho addressed the topic of forward Cristiano Ronaldo's "sadness" for the first time Friday since the Portuguese star made his initial complaint two weeks ago, just before the international break.
"If he's sad and plays the way he plays, that is perfect by me, it is all the same to me," Mourinho said during a news conference Friday.
Ronaldo has been at the center of intense gossip about his future after revealing following Madrid's home win over Granada earlier this month that he did not celebrate his two goals in the match because he was "sad" for professional reasons, but without elaborating.
"I am a coach and results are my job because when the results aren't good, I get killed," Mourinho said. "Cristiano works at the highest level, sometimes better and other times worse and he can't always score goals, but he is a team player, works in solidarity and in our practices and at our level of discipline he sets the highest example.
"I do not have to worry about things that are supplementary and not fundamental. I think that we have had 15 spectacular days because there has been no football and the (Spanish) team games have been bad, without any emotion and without any important occurrence.
"Cristiano has given us the chance to have 15 fantastic days but now we have to give him what he needs, peace and tranquility to play soccer, which is the thing he knows best how to do and what he likes the most. Us, the Bernabeu and the fans, must evaluate his on-pitch performance and nothing else. As coach, if tomorrow in the 75th or 80th minute he has played a horrible match, I will take him out and put someone else in, that's it."
Ronaldo will have little time for moping as Real Madrid gears up for a must-win match Saturday (4 p.m. ET) against Sevilla, with the Spanish champion needing to keep the pressure on league leader Barcelona.
"For Madrid, for the players as much as the fans, it is an authentic pleasure to have Cristiano here. And for Cristiano, it is a luxury to wear the jersey of the best club in the world," said goalkeeper Iker Casillas on Thursday. "We all benefit. Madrid fans are demanding, but they are that way about everyone."
Madrid trails Barcelona by five points after just three games, and Sevilla has a victory and two draws to start the season.
Ronaldo first made his comments to reporters on Sept. 2 as they asked him about his two-goal night.
"The people know the reasons why I didn't celebrate the goals," he said. "I don't do so when I am feeling sadness. It was due to a professional motive. The appropriate people inside the club know why I'm sad. I won't say anything more."
Mourinho said his biggest worry was Real's showing in La Liga.
"We have played a huge match against Barcelona that has given us the Super Cup with great merit, another Super Cup in which we have been good and three matches in La Liga of which I have liked not one," he said. "That is my worry and we are all worried about it because we want to improve and we know we can do it."
Mourinho said he has not seen any difference between Ronaldo and the rest of his teammates.
"I find them all the same, they have been out for way too long and I have been way too long with just three players and the players from Castilla," he said. "I have found them all well because none of them lost with their respective (national) teams, they all met their objectives, they are all tired and none of them have problems that impede them from playing."
Information from Efe News Agency was used in this report.