Football

Ronaldo: I'm not a devil, don’t say stupid things about me

Ronaldo slams unfair treatment by media after leading Real to their 33rd La Liga title

Real Madrid won their 33rd La Liga title and their first in five years, as Cristiano Ronaldo's 40th goal of the season helped seal a 2-0 victory at Malaga yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Ronaldo got the Spanish giants off to a perfect start after just two minutes before Karim Benzema's close-range finish sealed the title 10 minutes into the second half.

Real pipped Barcelona at the top of the table by three points as the Catalan giants' come-from-behind 4-2 victory over Eibar in outgoing coach Luis Enrique's last home game in charge wasn't enough for a third straight title.

Despite the joy of helping Real seal the title, Ronaldo slammed his treatment by the media, saying he is not "the devil" he is made out to be.

When questioned about a gesture he made to Celta Vigo players in Real's 4-1 win over the Galicians last Wednesday, insinuating Celta had been offered bonuses to damage Real's title charge, the 32-year-old Portuguese turned on the press pack.

"People say things about me without knowing a thing and it bothers me. You (the media) say things about Cris without knowing the truth," said Ronaldo, who claimed just his second league winner's medal in eight seasons since joining Real.

"I am not a saint, but I am also not a devil like many people think I am.

"I don't like this type of thing because I have a family, I have a mother, a son, and I don't like that they say stupid things about me."

ZIDANE'S BEST ACHIEVEMENT

Zinedine Zidane claimed winning the La Liga title as Real coach surpassed his stellar achievement of winning the 1998 World Cup with France as a player and even lifting the Champions League in his debut season as coach last year.

"It is the happiest day of my professional life by a distance. Right now, I would like to stand up here and dance," said the 44-year-old Frenchman, whose press conference was interrupted by Marcelo, Danilo, Casemiro, Lucas Vazquez and Alvaro Morata drowning their boss in champagne.

Zidane won the World Cup, European Championship and Champions League as one of the greatest players of his generation, but said the extra responsibility that comes with being coach made his achievements all the greater

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    Striker Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 25 league goals, far behind top scorer Lionel Messi (37), and 40 goals in all competitions — helping Real Madrid to the La Liga title and the Champions League final on June 3 against Juventus.

"As coach of Real, you know what the expectations are," he said.

"I have experienced it as a player and that is why it is the happiest day of my professional life because being a coach changes everything.

"I have won everything with this club, but to win La Liga is the best of all."

Zidane's role in restoring Real to the top of Spanish football was hailed by Ronaldo.

"He has managed things very intelligently along with his assistants," said Ronaldo.

"The proof is there. We have won a very difficult league against one of the best teams in the world in Barca and Zidane has done a phenomenal job."

Real are targeting a first La Liga and Champions League double for 59 years when they face Juventus in the Champions League final on June 3.

Meanwhile, Barcelona are ready to reveal the identity of the head coach chosen to succeed Enrique at the Nou Camp after watching their La Liga crown head to Madrid.

Shortly after their win over Eibar yesterday, Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu gave fans some cause to be optimistic about the future by tweeting: "On Monday, May 29, we will announce the new coach."

The confirmation will arrive two days after the team's Copa del Rey final meeting with Alaves on Sunday morning.

Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde is reportedly the front-runner to take the reins from Enrique who, after three largely successful campaigns, has decided to move on.

Barca's concession of a championship they had won three times in the previous four years will likely create anxiety about the futures of top players, too.

To that end, Bartomeu moved to dispel any fears that star striker Lionel Messi could now opt to depart.

"There's no doubt that the marriage between Messi and Barca will continue," tweeted the president. - WIRE SERVICES

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