Cristiano Ronaldo provided Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti with no problems during their time together at Santiago Bernabeu, the head coach has insisted.
The 37-year-old is a free agent following his dramatic release from Manchester United ahead of the World Cup, which came after a seismic interview with Piers Morgan where he slammed the club’s owners and manager Erik ten Hag.
Having fallen out of favour at Old Trafford, Ronaldo found himself struggling for selection once again on the international stage after being dropped by Portugal for their 6-1 last-16 triumph over Switzerland.
The Portuguese football Federation (FPF) have insisted Ronaldo did not threaten to leave Portugal’s World Cup camp due to a disagreement with coach Fernando Santos in the wake of being named as a substitute.
However, Ancelotti has made it clear that he never experienced any challenges during the pair’s time together in the Spanish capital.
“I had him for two years, zero problems. In fact, he solved them for me,” Ancelotti told Corriere Dello Sport.
“Can someone who scores at least one goal per game be considered a problem?
“Cristiano trains very well, he is attentive to detail, for me it was all too easy to manage him. He’s an exceptional player.
“With me, he will have played a hundred games and scored more than a hundred goals, one who scores 50 every year is someone who does good for the team.”
1 – Gonçalo Ramos scored more goals for Portugal in the World Cup knockout stages after 17 minutes (1) than Cristiano Ronaldo has in 514 minutes played in the competition’s knockout rounds (0). Vindicated.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe)
Ancelotti was asked whether he considers this tournament to be the ‘last dance’ for Ronaldo, though he is not sure that assessment is correct.
“I don’t know – he probably still feels 20-years-old because he is fine, from his body he has the answer he seeks,” added Ancelotti.
“He has always treated the physique in an almost paroxysmal way.
“But the competition has become tough, for Portugal even someone like [Rafael] Leao starts from the bench.”
Back at club level, Ancelotti is looking to knock Barcelona off their perch at the top of LaLiga and has positive news regarding Karim Benzema, who was ruled out of the World Cup with France.
“He’s coming back on Saturday, we will put it right,” he said on the forward.