Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has disputed team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo's suggestion Los Blancos' squad was weakened by key departures over the summer and said that his lack of celebration when his team-mates score is perhaps "not the best way to go about things."
The Portuguese superstar recently cited the loss of experienced trio Pepe, Alvaro Morata and James Rodriguez as being partially responsible for Real's poor start to the season, per Sport.
But Ramos told Cadena SER he disagrees with Ronaldo's explanation for Real's inconsistent start to the 2017-18 campaign, which sees them eight points back from La Liga leaders Barcelona (via Sport):
"I don't agree with him that the squad is weaker, it seems to be an opportunistic opinion. Nobody thought that when we won the Super Cups [against Barcelona and Manchester United].
"We aren't missing anyone, we have won everything with the players that are here now. The squad has changed, but some players contribute some things and others contribute other things."
Per AS, Cadena SER host Manu Carreno pushed Ramos to discuss Ronaldo after he did not celebrate Isco's goal against Las Palmas, having failed to find the net himself in Sunday's 3-0 win.
The Real skipper said "it doesn't help the interests of the team" and added "it could be that it's not the best way to go about things, and yeah, maybe there are some who don't like that type of gesture."
However, he downplayed the possibility of there being a rift in the squad as a result: "We all still hold him in the same regard. We know how to handle the way he is because, after all, he does so much for us throughout the season."
Ramos also said Barca "can be caught" in the title race and that it would be unlikely for the Blaugrana to maintain their remarkable form throughout the season.
The Catalan giants have dropped just two points in the 2017-18 Spanish top flight after 11 games, while Real have stuttered in their title defence by losing to Girona and Real Betis.
Zinedine Zidane's side were also recently humbled at Wembley Stadium in a 3-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League.
Ahead of the 2017-18 campaign, Real were widely predicted to win La Liga easily after a 2016-17 season when they wrested the Spanish title back from Barcelona and won a second successive Champions League, per AS.
It has not been plain sailing in 2017-18, but Ramos is clearly confident Real can turn their form around.
Real's next fixture is against local rivals Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano on Nov. 18, while the first league Clasico of the season is scheduled for Dec. 23 at the Santiago Bernabeu.