Madrid: Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has sought to play down Cristiano Ronaldo's revelation two weeks ago that he was feeling "sad" at the club. "If he is sad and he plays like he plays, then that's perfect for me, he can carry on doing the same," Mourinho told a news conference on Friday when asked about his Portuguese compatriot's comments.
"I am a soccer coach and my responsibilities are the results and for that reason when the results are not good, you kill me," Mourinho added as Real prepare for Saturday's La Liga match at Sevilla. "That's what I need to focus on."
Ronaldo dropped his bombshell to reporters after Real's 3-0 win at home to Granada, prompting speculation he was unhappy with his salary and might be seeking an exit from the club that made him the world's most expensive player when they bought him from Manchester United three years ago.
The 27-year-old, who media reports say earns 11 million euros a season, had refused to celebrate his two goals in the La Liga victory. He would not elaborate on the reasons for his sadness, saying only that "those who worked in the club" knew why. He later denied it was a money issue.
Fiercely pro-Real sports daily Marca reported on Tuesday he had demanded a contract extension and a hike in wages to a post-tax 15 million euros.
Mourinho, who has the same agent as Ronaldo, said he was not bothered by the player's remarks even though they came at a time when he has expressed dissatisfaction with his team.
Real dropped five points in their opening three league outings, including a shock 2-1 defeat at Getafe when they let slip a half-time lead.
"Cristiano is working at his top level; he is playing at his top level," Mourinho said. "Some days better and some days worse. Obviously he can't score in every game or be decisive in every game. He is always a team player, a player who in terms of training and discipline is absolutely exemplary. I don't have to worry about things that for me are supplementary and not fundamental."
Mourinho urged the media and the public to let the matter drop and judge Ronaldo by his performances on the pitch. "Now give Cristiano what he needs, which is peace and quiet and to play football, which is what he knows best and what he likes best," he said.
"We should all evaluate his performance on the pitch and nothing more. Tomorrow in the 80th minute, the 75th minute, he has played a horrible game, he's not in good shape, he's tired, off, another player on.
"That's how we have to judge people, especially those we don't know."