Cristiano Ronaldo apologises, says Real Madrid can't win every game
Cristiano Ronaldo apologised to Real Madrid fans after Thursday's Copa del Rey last-16 second leg, which began with the 2014 Ballon d'Or winner presenting the trophy to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, but ended with local rivals Atletico Madrid celebrating a 2-2 draw which took them through to the quarterfinals 4-2 on aggregate.
Ronaldo was surprisingly upstaged by returning Atletico hero Fernando Torres, who scored his first two career Bernabeu goals to ensure a relatively comfortable passage through to play Barcelona in the last eight, even though Madrid managed a draw on the night via headers from Sergio Ramos and Ronaldo himself.
The Blancos talisman told reporters in the mixed zone after the game that he had appreciated the fans show of affection when the stadium hailed both the team and him personally pre kick-off, but unfortunately the players had not been able to return that support by turning the tie around.
"In the name of the team, I can only apologise to the fans, because we could have done better in the second half," Ronaldo said. "I appreciate the support we received on the bus, and the reception they gave me before the game."
The soon to turn 30 year old, who has looked far from his sharpest in recent weeks, admitted to not being fully fit at the moment, while denying that the knee problem which so hampered him during the first half of 2014 had returned.
"You cannot score in every game, or be at your best," Ronaldo said. "Tell me a player who always plays well. I am not from another planet. Maybe I am not perfectly fit, but I will be there. The knee issue is over, I have got used to playing with pain. In two or three weeks I will be fine, and the team too."
Ronaldo then criticised the style of football which had also seen Diego Simeone's side overcome Madrid in the Spanish Supercopa and La Liga earlier this season.
"Atletico do not play attractive football," he said. "They are very defensive. They are always waiting for set-pieces, but it works well for them. You must respect their players and their coach."
The Portuguese did however follow his club coach Carlo Ancelotti in claiming Madrid had played very well at times.
"We knew that they had an advantage, and the game was very difficult," Ronaldo said. "We conceded a goal in the first minute. We knew what could happen. It was a disappointment to lose like this. I am delighted with the play in the first half. We could not play better. We showed our face. We had very bad luck to concede both goals so quickly."
Ronaldo even claimed that going out of the cup at this point could make things easier in the long run for Madrid given their other commitments this season.
"You do not need to take anything away from the Copa, but La Liga and the Champions League are more important," he said. "We want to win, but we can take positive things from the defeats. They will help us to focus.
"Sometimes it is better to take a step backwards, to later take two forwards. We are first in La Liga and in the Champions League. Games can take their toll, and I hope that in two weeks we are back playing like before Christmas."