That’s according to Sportyou (h/t Sport), which said the Portuguese has dropped his levels during sessions, with Los Blancos well off the pace in pursuit of the La Liga title.
“They have always considered him an example of professionalism for his desire and intensity, which was on display all the time,” it’s stated in the piece. “However, things have changed. ‘Cristiano now doesn't move in training. His change has been radical,’ one member of the squad reportedly said.”
Ronaldo spoke out against his team-mates in the wake of the team’s 1-0 loss to Atletico Madrid at the weekend, stating that “if we were all at my level, maybe we would be leaders,” per Pete Hall of Sky Sports.
Here’s a look at what he had to say after the match, per Sky Sports News HQ:
He has since apologised for the claims made, according to Goal. However, Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones thinks he was correct in his assessment:
Ronaldo has endured a peculiar season to date. He has scored an impressive 22 goals in La Liga this season, but overall his all-round performances haven’t reached the impeccable standards we’ve become so accustomed to down the years. The forward has gone missing in big games often.
Manager Zinedine Zidane could certainly do with Ronaldo at full throttle. Gareth Bale is absent at the moment due to injury, while Karim Benzema hobbled off at half-time in the loss to Atletico Madrid. It means that the Portuguese has had to shoulder much of the attacking responsibility in recent weeks, with both James Rodriguez and Isco also struggling for form.
However, Bleacher Report’s Clark Whitney feels that in the wake of the comments made by the former Manchester United man, Zidane should consider leaving Ronaldo out of the side:
Big choice for Zidane: To bench Ronaldo or not? Hard especially for a new coach, but has to be an option after CR7's disrespect to him/team— Clark Whitney (@Mr_Bundesliga) February 28, 2016
That’s an option that will surely be more viable if the forward has been sulking in training. His own hard work has previously helped him become the superstar he currently is.
Should Ronaldo lose that edge in training, his performances on the pitch may begin to suffer. Couple that with an apparent disgruntlement with some of the playing staff at the Santiago Bernabeu, not to mention unrest from the fans, and it doesn’t paint a particularly happy picture of life in the Spanish capital for the 31-year-old.