Real Madrid full-back Marcelo says critics of Cristiano Ronaldo should stay silent following his devastating display against Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
The Portugal star became the leading goalscorer in the history of the derby as his hat-trick sealed a 3-0 victory for Zinedine Zidane’s side at the Vicente Calderon.
Ronaldo had been criticised for some of his displays since his return from the knee injury sustained in the final of Euro 2016, having gone on a run of just one goal in six appearances in September and October.
Marcelo, however, says his team-mate’s performance against Atletico proved that his quality should never be called into question.
“You can never doubt Cristiano and those who do can watch the match again and look at what he did,” he told Movistar Plus.
Zidane stated that Ronaldo should now be certain to win the Ballon d’Or and defender Dani Carvajal agrees.
“I hope he wins the Ballon d’Or, I think he deserves it,” said the Spain international. “He gave another exhibition [on Saturday].”
Marcelo was delighted with the performance of his side, but insists the title race is far from over, despite Madrid having built a four-point lead at the top of the table.
“If you go in with intensity and fight for the ball it gives you more confidence in the game and you can play better. We didn’t lack intensity at any moment,” he said.
“Playing against Atletico is difficult, but we were incredible in terms of intensity and we were able to make the right decisions in practically every moment. We were also strong at the back and did not concede.
“It is not a decisive moment because we still have a long way to go in LaLiga. We came here to work hard and we did that well, with the utmost humility and respect towards Atletico.”