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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Mourinho leaps to Ronaldo defence

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has laughed off recent criticism levelled at Cristiano Ronaldo for his lack of success from free-kicks.

• Blog: Copa Clasico is on
• Di Stefano: Ronaldo must take criticism

Despite Ronaldo's remarkable return of 112 goals in 115 games for Los Blancos he has found himself under pressure from the club's fans of late, with the Real faithful jeering him in the past couple of games.

But when it was put to Mourinho that his star player is whistled at when he takes free-kicks because of his poor conversion rate, the Portuguese boss appeared bemused.

"Have you got the statistics for the main strikers in other teams?" Mourinho said. "In five years they have not done what Cristiano has done in one year ... Spanish or non-Spanish? Internationals with titles? Do you want to compare them?

"You are talking of the Golden Boot winner. The Golden Boot. And you give me statistics? My God ... There is only one boy who has scored more goals than he has and he plays in Afghanistan or Kazakhstan."

It is the second time in a week that Mourinho has come out fighting for Ronaldo, after the Portuguese forward was ridiculed by the pro-Madrid media and fans alike for not celebrating a goal during a 5-1 win over Granada last weekend.

"I think it is more relevant that he celebrates the goals that win games and not the fifth goal in the 90th minute," Mourinho said on Monday. "I saw him celebrate the other four that were the important ones.

"If there are going to be criticisms of a player for not celebrating goals, then why not criticise me because I didn't celebrate any of the five goals. I didn't even get up."

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