Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka has defended Cristiano Ronaldo after the reigning La Liga champions’ 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.
Ronaldo scored Real’s first two goals in a spiteful encounter at Bilbao’s Estadio San Mames and Karanka was forced to defend the forward at his post-match press conference from claims the 28-year-old Portuguese had been an aggressor during the game.
Referee Fernando Teixeira gave out six yellow cards on Sunday, but not one to Ronaldo, and Karanka argued Real’s star attacker puts up with a lot.
“He (Ronaldo) has some manners, which people respect and some don’t like,” Karanka said.
“He plays without complaining at all and he has to hear a lot of things which he doesn’t like.
“He scores goals and he works for the club and we benefit from having him.”
Ronaldo struck a stunning free-kick in the second minute to open the scoring for the visitors at San Mames, while his towering header doubled Real’s lead in the 68th minute before he teed up Gonzalo Higuain for the capital club’s third goal.
“San Mames is a tough place to visit but Cristiano Ronaldo did everything expected of him,” Karanka said.
“He scored two goals.
“Bilbao’s players tried to disrupt him but Cristiano showed how to play in a difficult atmosphere.”
With San Mames set to be closed down at the end of the season and Athletic Bilbao moving to a new stadium, Karanka reflected on Real’s last trip to the famous stadium.
“Playing in San Mames is always special, especially when you know it is going to be the last time,” Karanka said.
“This atmosphere and previous matches have gone down in the ground’s history.
“I have seen it develop over time. For me it is always special.”