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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Sergio Ramos says Cristiano Ronaldo didn't mean to attack his teammates

Sergio Ramos has defended Cristiano Ronaldo after the Real Madrid superstar said some of his teammates were not on his level.

Real Madrid have been hampered by a string of injuries this season, and their struggles were apparent in Saturday's 1-0 loss to Atletico in the Madrid derby.

Afterward, Ronaldo said playing alongside Jese Rodriguez, Lucas Vazquez and Mateo Kovacic was "not the same" as if Real Madrid had Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema at 100 percent.

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Ronaldo later said he only meant to comment on his teammates' injuries, and Ramos said he was sure Ronaldo wasn't looking to insult any of his comrades.

"If anyone knows Cristiano, it is me. I don't think he wanted to attack any of his teammates, but perhaps he did not express his opinion in the best way," Ramos said, according to AS.

"As captain, I feel proud of my teammates' work and in difficult times we must emphasise this. But everyone is free to have an opinion."

Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid are nine points behind leaders Barcelona, who have a game in hand.

Ramos said Ronaldo was naturally frustrated as Real's hopes of catching Barcelona for the title in La Liga all but disappeared with Saturday's result.

"I think when results go against you there is more negativity, more excuses and more opinions. It is tough, we have lost a derby and the league is now almost impossible," Ramos said. "We still have the Champions League and we are hoping to play well in that."

Ramos also supported Jese and Vazquez, saying, "We are proud of the youngsters who have come in and are desperate for an opportunity like Lucas and Jese."

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