Cristiano Ronaldo has had enough of the happy family vibe coming out of Barcelona’s strike corps of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.
The Real Madrid man has been in the headlines in the past for not getting along with teammates, while Barca’s “MSN” trio gets stories written about how they aren’t happy unless each part of the triumvirate scores in a given game.
Ronaldo, 31, said he wasn’t buddy-buddy with teammates at Manchester United when they were lifting every trophy under the sun, and he isn’t worried about how people view his time with James Rodriguez, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale amongst others.
“How do we know that [their relationship] is that way? Only because that is what gets written,” he said.
“I am going to tell you something. When I was at United, I didn’t speak [off the pitch] to [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes and [Rio] Ferdinand apart from the normal ‘good morning’ but we won the Champions League.
“We talked on the pitch and that is all that mattered. Does it matter that I don’t go out for dinner with Benzema or that Bale does not come around my house. It is not important. This thing about the little meals, the little hugs, the little kisses. To me that doesn’t mean anything.”
If he really believes hugs and kisses are meaningless, Ronaldo might be the Morrissey of the footballing world.
Jokes aside, Ronaldo stayed on edge for most of the press conference, bristling when questions were raised over his recent away scoring form. He asked the media to name a player in Spain with more away goals than him, then left after answering his own question with a mic drop comment: “You don’t have one.”
For what it’s worth, winning everything does make the relationships inside a strike force moot, but Barca is winning everything rather than Real. When that chemistry combines with talent, it’s fairly certain to be a better set-up than a straight-up business arrangement.
Real Madrid has Roma in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16, and begins the pairing Wednesday, while Barcelona starts its tie with Arsenal on Feb. 23.