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Attacking stats bode poorly for Real

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Cristiano Ronaldo insists kick of Gijon's Cases was unintentional

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner reacts to Real Madrid's comprehensive victory over Sporting Gijon.

Cristiano Ronaldo says he did not deliberately kick Sporting Gijon midfielder Cases in Real Madrid's 5-1 win on Sunday, but admits he shouldn't have performed the act and could have been shown a yellow card.

Asked about a second-half incident in which TV images appeared to show him kicking off the ball at the rear of Nacho Cases, Ronaldo said the action had been "instinctive" and the damage would have been worse if he had deliberately set out to hurt his opponent.

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"It was instinctive," Ronaldo, who scored twice in the match, said. "They could have shown me a yellow card. If I kicked him on purpose he would not have got up. I shouldn't have done it."

Ronaldo has won three Ballon d'Or trophies, but lost out to Barcelona's Lionel Messi for the 2015 award last week.

Asked about his Ballon d'Or experience, the Portuguese joked about just being a translator this time around.

"We got closer, but we have always had a good relationship," said. "Before the gala, on the stage, I was a translator for Neymar and him [Messi]. I told them they would have to pay me."

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has taken the vandalism of his statue in stride.

Ronaldo played down a midweek incident on his home island of Madeira, where his own statue was painted with Messi's name, leading the Portugal captain's sister to say those responsible were "savages" who "deserved to live in Syria."

"It's something simple," he said. "There are people who love you and those who hate you. My brother got it cleaned, and that's all."

The former Manchester United player was less complimentary when asked for his opinion on Barcelona right-back Dani Alves' recent comments about bias in the Madrid media.

"I prefer not to give anyone free publicity," Ronaldo said. "I have never spoken about him in my interviews. If I want to talk badly about a fellow professional, I will speak with him, not in the media to promote myself. Everyone talks about Cris, then it comes out on the front of the newspaper."

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