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Lopetegui expecting 'tweaks' to Madrid's squad

Real Madrid
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Sergio Ramos: Neymar welcome to join Real, Ronaldo's sulkiness 'not the best'

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has said he would "open the door" to Neymar if he wanted to move to the Bernabeu and added that Cristiano Ronaldo's recent moodiness was "not the best."

Neymar was a nemesis of Real Madrid during his time with their arch-rivals Barcelona, scoring three goals and contributing two assists in eight Clasicos before signing for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

Mundo Deportivo reported this week that Madrid chief Florentino Perez remained in contact with Neymar's representatives and the player could end up joining them from PSG in the future.

And Ramos said he would welcome the former Barcelona man, telling "El Larguero" radio show: "I like to have the best players, and Neymar is one of them.

"Maybe he thought it would be easier to go through PSG first, rather than straight from Barca to Madrid. I hope so. You never know in football.

"He could bring us a lot of quality. I'd open the door if he wants to come in December."

Ronaldo recently suggested that the Madrid squad was weaker after players such as Alvaro Morata and Pepe left in the summer.

But Ramos said: "I don't agree that we were stronger [last season]. When we won the two Supercups [in August], we were stronger than ever -- now people are being opportunist.

"I would look more to the injuries. The squad has changed this year, but it is not better or worse. I prefer to look at this in May, which is when the paella is ready."

Local media reports claimed Ronaldo was angry with Isco for not acknowledging his assist against Las Palmas, with coach Zinedine Zidane saying Ronaldo left the pitch unhappy when he did not score.

But the Portugal captain wrote in an Instagram post: "This is the way I live my life -- smiling and positive."

Esta é a maneira que eu vivo a vida sorridente e positivo 👌😘🥇✌️

A post shared by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on

Ronaldo has only scored one La Liga goal so far this season, and while Ramos played down questions about his teammate's apparent frustration, he said: "He is fine, he has just spoiled us before [with so many goals].

"Some might like Cristiano's gestures more than others. But I don't get surprised after so many years.

"This ambition he has makes him more grouchy when he does not score. Maybe that is not the best.

"For me personally, I don't care if the goal comes from Cristiano, Isco or if [goalkeepers] Kiko Casilla or Keylor Navas go up and get a header.

"Cristiano is going for the Golden Boot, the Ballon d'Or, which depend on these details, on him scoring goals. But you cannot blame him for that as he gives us so much."

Injured winger Gareth Bale's acclimatisation to life in Spain is still being questioned by some pundits even after his four years in Madrid, but Ramos defended him, saying: "You cannot force somebody to be a different person. He has always kept a bit to the side, is shyer than others.

"He speaks a bit [of Spanish], understands everything, but usually speaks in English himself. But he has been professional and looked after himself.

"I don't know why he has these injuries -- we hope he can get this consistency which would benefit everyone."

Madrid fell eight points behind Barcelona after a defeat at promoted Girona, and although they returned to winning ways against Las Palmas at the weekend, captain Ramos blamed a lack of luck in front of goal for what he called a "negative run."

"We've won a game so that [crisis talk] is over now," he said. "At Madrid, it is about results in the end. We had a negative run, the ball didn't want to go in, but there were no alarm bells.

"We've dropped important points, but there's still a long way to go. We will recover our confidence, have more luck, and the forwards will end up scoring goals.

"We need to make up points, but we've two games against Barcelona to come, which is six."

Madrid's next game is a derbi at neighbours Atletico on Nov. 18 and Ramos added: "It's vital, as all games are in our situation. We cannot drop more points."

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan

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