Does Ronaldo’s criticism highlight Real Madrid’s biggest weakness?

Cristiano Ronaldo © Sergio Perez
Cristiano Ronaldo publicly shamed his Real Madrid teammates after his side's 1-0 home defeat to cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid at the weekend – and in the process highlighted Zinedine Zidane's biggest task as coach.

The capital-city derby was a clash that the Santiago Bernabeu outfit needed to win to stand a chance of a La Liga title push, but a solitary Antoine Griezmann goal sealed the result in the visitors' favor.

The defeat leaves Madrid 12 points adrift of league leaders Barcelona and four behind Atletico with 12 games remaining.

After the loss, Ronaldo was less than complimentary about the rest of the Los Blancos side.

"It annoys me that they say that Cristiano has dropped his level, and that is why Madrid have dropped their level," he said.

"If they were all at my level, we would be first. You always ask me these crappy questions - it seems that here in Spain, I am in the s**t.

"The numbers do not lie. Statistics never trick you – it is easy," Ronaldo said, referring to his personal goalscoring achievements.

There is certainly some credence in Ronaldo's sentiments, with fellow big-money signings not playing to their best this season and the Portuguese's 34 goals in 35 games one of the few standouts for Madrid.

However, the 2014 Ballon d'Or winner's comments highlight just why Madrid are currently third in La Liga – a lack of team spirit.

Ronaldo carries a considerable ego and the facilitation of Gareth Bale into the team has taken time to work.

Madrid have always had Galacticos and no shortage of talent, but creating a formula that works has been the biggest challenge.

Looking at Atletico as a comparison highlights the point.

Diego Simeone has instilled an ‘us-against-them’ mentality and his players fight for one another on the pitch.

On paper and looking at the amount of money the two Madrid sides have spent, Real should comfortably outdo their local rivals.

However, Atletico's most valuable attributes are the togetherness, work rate, resilience and collective identity which have been forged under Simeone.

Recent Atleti signings such as Jackson Martinez and Alessio Cerci have been cast aside for the greater good of the group, despite their undoubted ability.

If Zidane is to be successful at the Bernabeu, the cohesive approach typified at the Vicente Calderon would be a good blueprint to follow.

Similarly, Barcelona may well have plenty of superstars of their own, but Luis Enrique's men have coupled this with a collective ethos underpinned by the values of the club.

Ronaldo's comments are certainly not helpful in forging more of a team spirit at Madrid, and clearly show the frustration of one solitary La Liga success in what will be seven seasons with the club by the end of this campaign.

This is made all the more galling for the Portuguese given his incredible goalscoring feats in Spain and the individual shows of brilliance that have been commonplace.

However, as typified by Messi and company at Barcelona, football is a team game and it takes more than one Galactico to build lasting success.

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