MADRID (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo's teammates were surprised to learn their star player is unhappy at Real Madrid, as speculation continued about the Portugal forward's future at the club.
Ronaldo said Sunday he was "sad" for professional reasons the Portugal forward said the club was aware of, but the former world player of the year would not elaborate.
The 27-year-old's outburst remained the talking point in Spain on Tuesday as media speculated whether he was referring to contract talks or problems with his teammates.
"If Cristiano is sad and needs the support of his teammates, clearly he'll have it. He needs the support of the club also. At Real Madrid we are a family," teammate Alvaro Arbeloa said. "He doesn't have the problems that the majority of Spaniards do but it's perfectly reasonable that he's sad."
Kaka also defended Ronaldo, but striker Gonzalo Higuain was mystified by his teammate's feelings, while Xabi Alonso had little to add.
"I'll only speak for myself, but I'm happy," Alonso said as he joined Arbeloa for Spain national team duty. "He is as he is."
Ronaldo joined Madrid from Manchester United for 80 million pounds (then $131 million) in 2009, signing a contract that ties him to the club until 2015. Madrid has not commented on Ronaldo's comments.
Ronaldo is training with Portugal ahead of World Cup qualifying.