Ronaldo right to slam teammates, says Gary Lim
He's right to criticise his teammates who need a wake-up call
ROUND OF 16, SECOND LEG
REAL MADRID 2
(Cristiano Ronaldo 64, James Rodriguez 68)
l Real win 4-0 on aggregate
The love affair with Cristiano Ronaldo is showing signs of strain.
Where he once commanded absolute adulation at the Santiago Bernabeu, now sections of the supporters have become disillusioned.
Despite scoring one goal and setting up another to help Real Madrid to a 2-0 victory (4-0 on aggregate) over AS Roma yesterday morning (Singapore time) to ease his side into the Champions League quarter-finals, Ronaldo was booed by some sections of the Bernabeu crowd as the club's all-time leading scorer missed several chances.
Real captain and defender Sergio Ramos came to the Portugal forward's defence.
"I would tell the fans to think a little first," Ramos was quoted as saying by Marca.
"I respect them but, when things don't go well, they should support their players because we all want the best for Real Madrid.
"He's a historic player for Real, he keeps proving that year after year - look at what he's achieved.
"When the fans at the Bernabeu boo you, it is because they want to transmit their demands to you, they want to push us and see the best performance from us."
Real coach Zinedine Zidane said the booing would simply spur Ronaldo on.
"It will only motivate him," said the Frenchman.
"The important thing is that every time Cristiano is on the pitch, he wants to score and he keeps doing it."
The Real boss is spot on.
In a match where those in white around him appeared hesitant and indecisive, it was the 31-year-old who stepped up to the plate.
In a match where Roma were superior in the opening hour, it was CR7 who put a stop to the growing threat.
Yet, his night was marred by intermittent booing among the crowd, by those who were quick to forget his four-goal performance in the 7-1 win over Celta Vigo just three days earlier.
About a fortnight ago, he decided to speak his mind.
He laid onto his teammates after the 1-0 Madrid Derby defeat, which left his team's La Liga title hopes in tatters.
Ronaldo told Spanish newspaper Marca: "If we were all at my level, maybe we would be leaders."
He later clarified that his comments had been "misinterpreted". One thing everyone could agree on was his tactlessness.
But, if Ronaldo's intended message was to highlight how his teammates haven't always been pulling their weight like him, then he might have a point.
RELIANT ON RON
The Champions League best illustrates Real's reliance on the former Manchester United striker, who has consistently let his feet do the talking.
In the evenly matched first-leg encounter against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico last month, Ronaldo proved the difference.
He scored the opening goal that broke the Roman resistance, before substitute Jese followed it up with the second.
Yesterday morning, like it was in Rome, Real were put under some serious pressure by the determined visitors.
Real's defence, led by Ramos, didn't look comfortable throughout.
Both Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah, with just the goalkeeper to beat, could have put Roma ahead in the opening half-hour but were guilty of poor finishing.
Luka Modric and Toni Kroos' probes from midfield were often unproductive, while James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale didn't quite possess the cutting edge.
Only Ronaldo truly shone.
He blasted home the first goal in the 64th minute for his 13th in the competition in this season alone, and his 91st in 127 appearances.
Then he unselfishly set up Rodriguez for his side's second shortly after.
So Real got through to the last eight with two decent performances against Roma.
But decent will not cut it in the later stages, where teams far better than Roma lie in wait.
At Bayern Munich, Pep Guardiola has moulded a team of winners comprising the likes of Douglas Costa, Robert Lewandowski, Arjen Robben and Thomas Mueller.
Barcelona's flying trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar share the goal-scoring responsibilities between them, while being backed up by a superb crew of midfielders.
Ronaldo need his teammates to up their game or they can kiss their Champions League hopes goodbye.