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Marcotti's Musings
By ESPN Staff

Real players come to the defence of Ramos

Real Madrid stars Gabriel Heinze and Wesley Sneijder have defended team-mate Sergio Ramos following the Spain defender's scathing attack on the club.

Ramos caused a stir last week when he publicly criticised coach Bernd Schuster's tactics, claiming he is unhappy at the way he is being played in the team.

Schuster responded by dropping the 22-year-old from the side for the weekend's game against Athletic Bilbao but, although Heinze believes Ramos was wrong to speak out in public, he feels his team-mate's complaints are justified.

"You have to keep the truths in the dressing room, which is a footballer's most sacred place and even God shouldn't enter there," Heinze told Spanish television channel TVE. "Sergio said what he though and that's that. He spoke with the coach and it stops there.

"The only thing I don't agree with is that he made it public."

Ramos prefers to play in the right-back position where he can make incisive runs down the flank, but he has found attacking opportunities limited this season by Schuster's system.

Sneijder has also leapt to Ramos' defence, telling Telemadrid: "Ramos was right in several things, but not in all. He is the best when we start attacking and if he can play like that he is the best in the world."

Michel Salgado replaced Ramos in the team over the weekend and, although the veteran defender has refused to reveal what happened behind closed doors, he claims the incident is already behind them.

"We have talked," he said. "But the conversations that take place in the dressing room remain there. The matter is resolved. Everything has been sorted out.

"He might have been wrong, but the important thing that remains with us is that he knew how to react. He has behaved like a man in front of his team-mates. We have all made mistakes at one time or another, so we shouldn't give it any importance. In the dressing room we haven't.

"What's most important is that everything has been sorted out because then there won't be any more returns to the story and because Sergio is a very important player for Real Madrid and we need him to be 100%."

Reports in Spain at the weekend suggested Ramos, who Madrid have always claimed is not for sale, could now be heading for the Bernabeu exit door.

However. former Real Madrid sporting director Arrigo Sacchi has defended the player and pleaded with fans to forgive him.

"You can make mistakes in life," the ex-Italy and AC Milan coach told Radio Marca. "What's important is to apologise and not repeat them. Sergio is still a young boy although he is already quite experienced.

"At times you should think a bit before speaking. But he is also a good and generous lad, you have to forgive him."

Sacchi also waded into the new row between the Spanish champions and Manchester United after Red Devils coach Sir Alex Ferguson was quoted this week claiming Real Madrid only signed Gabriel Heinze as a means of luring Cristiano Ronaldo to the Bernabeu.

"I read today that Ferguson has been complaining about Madrid, that they are not behaving like gentlemen," added the former Parma coach. "But that's a man talking, a club talking, who committed a robbery with Giuseppe Rossi who is now at Villarreal.

"When I was at Parma they took advantage of the bankruptcy of Parmalat to steal Rossi from us, who was only 16."

Rossi joined United's youth team in 2004 for only £200,000 but struggled to break into the first team at Old Trafford and, after loan spells at Newcastle United and Parma, was sold to Villarreal for around £6.6million in 2007.

Salgado refused to comment on the renewed spat between Ferguson and Real Madrid but claims he is delighted at Ronaldo's announcement that he hopes to remain at Old Trafford beyond the end of the season.

The veteran defender believes the long-running transfer saga damaged the Primera Liga champions who have had a less than impressive start to the new campaign.

He added: "I'm delighted by what Cristiano said about not coming to Real Madrid, because with this the matter is settled and they won't spend the whole season talking about him. It damaged us this pre-season and it could have been the reason why we couldn't sign other players."


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