Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has hit back at supporters who jeered star forward Cristiano Ronaldo at the weekend.
Ronaldo endured whistles from sections of an irritable Santiago Bernabeu crowd before firing four goals in a merciless 7-1 dismantling of Celta Vigo, a haul that established him as the second highest goalscorer in Liga history behind Barcelona rival Lionel Messi.
Zidane believes a 12-point deficit to leaders Barca in the table is at the root of frustration surrounding his club, but rubbished suggestions Ronaldo should be sold – pointing towards occasional low points in his own relationship with the notoriously hard-to-please Madridistas during an esteemed playing career.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second-leg match against Roma, Zidane said: “There are fans who want Ronaldo to be sold? Well I don’t and I’m the coach.
“As far as the whistles go, they did it to me too, to everyone.
“It’s not a question of one player in particular, it’s a fanbase that wants more from its players.
“I see a full stadium and that means a lot. The fans are very important, they have always supported us. It is part of football that they are unhappy if things do not go well.”
James Rodriguez is in contention to start against Roma having been an unused substitute against Celta, as Madrid defend a 2-0 lead from the away leg.
The Colombia international has struggled with form and fitness issues this season, but has Zidane’s backing.
“My confidence in James is not a problem, he is a committed player who trains well,” the Frenchman added.
“You have to make changes and there are players you have to leave out but the most important thing is to give everything on the field.
“I will always ask for more because he has talent, but not only from him. He is improving.”