Guillem Balague on Madrid derby and Cristiano Ronaldo controversy
Last Updated: 01/03/16 8:36am
In his weekly column, Sky Sports' Spanish football expert Guillem Balague reflects on Real Madrid's derby defeat to Atletico Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo's controversial post-match comments, as well as answering your questions...
I think people have taken the wrong end of the stick on Cristiano Ronaldo. He's becoming a very easy target because people are not in love with him back in Spain - even a lot of Real Madrid fans.
If you listen closely to what he says, he's not saying anything we don't already think. He's saying he prefers to play with Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and the big names, rather than Jese or Lucas Vazquez. Obviously, there are better players in the squad.
People may say is there a need to say that after an Atletico Madrid defeat, and perhaps the timing was not right - hence him tracking back on his words and trying to clarify them by saying he was talking about the physical side and the injuries.
But if you keep listening, he is having a dig at the club about the pre-season that they had, in which they didn't prepare themselves properly for this season - which is something that not only Ronaldo but a lot of other players think.
He was having a dig at the way the squad has been built and he was having a dig at the doctors as well so there was a lot that he said but of course, most people kept the line about, 'If everybody was as good as I had been, we would be top of the table'.
I'm not sure I even agree with that. I don't think he's been that good this season. I think his impact on big games hasn't been great.
The fact Real Madrid haven't beaten any top-four team in La Liga for instance is proof of it and he hasn't been as effective as he was last season, even though he may have been scoring a similar amount of goals, he has scored in fewer games.
To talk about himself as being much better compared to the rest, that is where he got it completely wrong. He is the star of the team so he should be the one raising his game in the big matches. Nobody else has been raising their game but he hasn't either so that's where he should have perhaps been a bit more humble.
To talk about himself as being much better compared to the rest, that is where he got it completely wrong.
Guillem Balague on Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid's defeat is basically confirming what we knew at least - and what I thought from the beginning - that Zinedine Zidane is not ready to take this job.
Partly because the team he has to deal with is unbalanced and partly because he is not prepared for it. The most disturbing thing about him getting the job is the lack of respect for the process it takes you to become a manager at Real Madrid - as if anybody could do it.
Well, I'm afraid at the back of the mind of Florentino Perez, that's exactly what he's been thinking all along. I think these kind of results and that they haven't improved since Rafa Benitez left - in the same amount of games, Rafa's team had more points - all confirms that not anybody can do the job.
It was all lacking in sharpness, lacking in hunger even and lacking in an active attitude that the players should have taken for a derby.
All in all, and I've been saying it all year, it looks like the end of an era here and I think Real Madrid are going to use the summer to make a lot of changes as Zidane said himself in the press conference, there will be a lot of changes in the summer - he said including the manager.
Guillem answers your questions
Does Marc Bartra's future lie away from Barcelona or does Enrique have a plan - similar to (Sergi) Roberto? @MarkieHD
I think Bartra will leave Barcelona in the summer. We don't know how good he is really, we've seen him play and he's got a touch of Gerard Pique but he hasn't got his intelligence and he doesn't build from the back so well. I think Pique is a much better centre-back and Bartra lacks the physical strength to come to England, or to do well in a top team at England.
Aymeric Laporte has been linked to Manchester clubs and Barcelona. Who is likely to sign him? @Shantanu3196
Barcelona will have to decide where to put their money. If it's in the renewal of contracts, then they may not have 40-50m to pay for a player like him. I know both Manchester clubs want him so it might be a matter for him to decide because they will be willing to pay the buy-out clause. It doesn't mean he will go because he has been linked to them in the past and he has decided to stay and renew his contract with Athletic Bilbao, so we will see.
Could Riyad Mahrez become a Barcelona player? @stevemarriott67
Definitely not, he is not a target for Barcelona.
Do you think there is any area where Barcelona will look to strengthen in the summer? @domcox1990
I think the centre-back position for sure and as I say, most of the money will go towards the renewal of the contracts so I'm not sure how much money they will have. If they had 100m, they could go for Paul Pogba but they definitely don't have that kind of money.
Do you think Valencia have a chance of winning a UCL place? @ODeolekar
No chance. It is too far away and the target should be to not get relegated and to do well in the Europa League.
Will Zidane last until next season? Who are the candidates to replace him? @MADRIDISTA
Before the Atletico Madrid game, the club said off the record that the plan was for Zidane to stay on and to start signing players, but after the derby, the message has changed a little bit and now it all depends on the Champions League so it's not guaranteed that he will stay, but it is not easy to find a replacement either. Real Madrid are a manager eating machine.