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Madrid team-mates: Ronaldo is fine

Cristiano Ronaldo is in good spirits and there are no tensions or problems in the Real Madrid dressing room, his team-mates have said.

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Speaking at a sponsors' event in Madrid on Thursday, Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa said Ronaldo had looked fine at training the previous evening after all Real's players had returned from international duty.

Earlier this month, Ronaldo declared that he was "sad" at Madrid and chose not to celebrate his goals in the home win over Granada. That sparked speculation that he could leave, but Alonso said: "His mood looks normal to me.

"When we saw each other at training, we all asked about how we had got on with our national teams. We got the issue out of the way completely naturally."

Right-back Arbeloa said everyone in the Madrid camp would help Ronaldo overcome any problems he had. "He did not look sad to me," he added. "I imagine it will be a personal thing for him, but we have offered to help him.

"When we met up, we asked him how he was. He said he was good, and we trained really well. It is a passing situation which is already over. We are all concentrating now on the next game, against Sevilla."

Goalkeeper Iker Casillas echoed those statements. "There was no issue," he said. "Everyone went off with their national teams and that was that. For Madrid, players and fans, it a real pleasure to have Cristiano. And, for Cristiano, it is an honour to wear the jersey of the best club in the world. Everyone wins. Cristiano is delighted to be at Madrid and for the fans it is really good that he is here. Madrid's fans expect a lot, but from everyone."

Although Ronaldo sparked the speculation surrounding him when he declared that he felt "sad" for "professional reasons", Alonso said he believed the media had blown the matter out of proportion.

"These things get exaggerated too much in the media," he said. "We know you have to sell papers, but journalists' concerns are very different from footballers'."

Ronaldo's first appearance at the Bernabeu since going public with his "sadness" comes on Tuesday, when Real begin their Champions League campaign against Premier League champions Manchester City.

But Alonso said he did not think Madrid fans would use the opportunity to give the Portugal international a hard time. "The crowd at the Bernabeu like to have to a player who is lethal, makes the difference and decides games," he added.

One reason floated in the Spanish media for Ronaldo's discontent was that he felt the club was not backing him enough in the race for this year's FIFA Ballon d'Or.

Alonso - aware that club colleague Casillas and international team-mates Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta are also potential winners of the award - was diplomatic, saying: "I would be very happy if Cristiano or any other of my team-mates took the Ballon d'Or."

Casillas added: "I believe there are Madrid players who deserve it for the great season we played and for the titles. Then there are the different criteria of those who vote. Cristiano has been at a very high level, but there are others who could deserve it too. Regarding myself? There is a lot of talk about this award and it is gratifying to be mentioned by many people. People stop me on the street to mention it. I appreciate that."


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