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Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema Reportedly Insulted by Real Madrid Fans

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 27:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF reacts as he fail to score during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Christopher SimpsonFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema were reportedly branded "mercenaries" by angry Real Madrid fans in the wake of their 1-0 derby defeat to Atletico Madrid on Saturday. 

That's according to Sport English, which reported a number of Madridistas waited by the exit to the Bernabeu to insult the players.

The defeat is Real's third consecutive derby loss at home and has put their La Liga title challenge in serious jeopardy as they are now nine points behind Barcelona, who have a game in hand.

Per football journalist Dermot Corrigan, president Florentino Perez did not escape the flak either:

Indeed, as Sport's report noted, the incident required the presence of "heavy security around, who had to intervene to stop some fan discontent to prevent anything untoward happening."

Football journalist Sid Lowe was puzzled by use of "mercenary" as an accusation toward the players:

Los Blancos manager Zinedine Zidane admitted his side's title hopes had taken a serious blow after the game, per Corrigan:

Sport compared the defeat to the sinking of the titanic:

Atletico are the first visitors to win three consecutive La Liga games at the Bernabeu—a feat not even Barcelona have achieved.

The accusation at Benzema seems somewhat unfair given he went off injured at half-time, but Ronaldo in particular has struggled against their rivals in recent times—and indeed the league's top sidesas Corrigan and Sky Sports Statto revealed:

The 31-year-old was guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance to take the lead in the game when he found time and space in the area just 12 yards out.

Ronaldo generated controversy after the match as he appeared criticise his team-mates. Per Sport, he said:

If everyone was at my level, we would be first... 

If a team doesn't play with its best players, it's difficult to win. I like to play with Benzema, [Gareth] Bale and Marcelo, it's tough when they're not on the pitch. I don't want to say that Jese [Rodriguez], Lucas [Vazquez], [Mateo] Kovacic are not good, they are good, but...

Though the forward has scored 34 goals in 33 games this season, he has often fallen well short of his own standards of performance with a number of anonymous performances.

In his defence, that could be down to plenty of factors including his age and the entire team's struggles in some games under Rafa Benitez and now Zidane, rather than simply a lack of effort.

Ronaldo and his team-mates will need to seriously improve to salvage what's left of the campaign.

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