Real Madrid left back Marcelo defended the positions of coach Carlo Ancelotti and attacker Cristiano Ronaldo, after their UEFA Champions League exit.
Ronaldo’s penalty at the Santiago Bernabeu put the European champions on the brink of progressing to the final in Berlin, but Juventus fought back to claim a 3-2 aggregate win in their semi-final – with former Real man Alvaro Morata scoring the tie winner.
Any time the star-studded Real lose, Ronaldo is one of the names in the gun for the Madrid outfit – but Marcelo said criticism of the Portugal international was unfair.
“Cristiano has not had a dip in form,” the defender said via Real’s official website.
“You are used to seeing him score three or four goals per game and when he scores one you say his form has dipped.
“He is a machine, he works extremely hard and helps the team. It is unfair to talk of a dip in form.”
Ronaldo’s goal extended Real’s streak of scoring at the Bernabeu to 52 games.
Marcelo also stood in support of under-pressure boss Ancelotti, who is on the verge of ending a season title-less.
“Madrid always fight for everything and this season we are no longer going to be able to fight for two titles,” the Brazilian defender said.
“La Liga is very difficult but not impossible. We are going to fight and try to win the last two games and see what happens.
“The manager is a winner. This year we have not been able to win two titles but I think that Ancelotti will stay on because he is a great manager.”
Right back Dani Carvajal said Juve protected their tie lead in a professional fashion.
“We will return stronger next year. We want to thank them [the fans] for tonight, from the moment we arrived in the stadium. We battled, we tried everything and it wasn’t to be,” Carvajal said.
“Juve closed down well after the goal, we had several clear chances but we are left wishing we could have reached the Champions League final.”