'Kisses doesn't mean anything' for Ronaldo
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo was riled by comments about Barcelona's forwards and reacted angrily when asked at a news conference on Tuesday about his away goals drought ahead of the Champions League tie at AS Roma.
The Portugal international was asked if Barca's free-scoring attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar had the edge over Real's strikers because they get on so well together.
"How do we know that (their relationship) is that way? It is only because that is what is written," he said.
"I don't have to go to dinner with (Karim) Benzema, or for (Gareth) Bale to come to my house. What we need is to get on on the field. We don't have to give each other kisses.
"This thing about the little meals, the little hugs, the little kisses. To me that doesn't mean anything."
Ronaldo later walked out of the news conference after replying sharply to a question about his recent lack of away goals on the eve of Real's last 16 first-leg clash in Rome.
Ronaldo broke the competition's record for the most goals scored in the group stage earlier this season when he hit 11, and is also the Champions League's all-time top scorer with 88 goals in 121 appearances.
But he was unhappy when asked why he had not scored away since Real Madrid's 2-0 La Liga victory at Eibar on Nov. 29.
"Who else has scored more goals away from home than me since I arrived in Spain?" said Ronaldo. "Name one player who has scored more than me?
"No answer? Ok. Thank you everyone," he added, before excusing himself from the news conference.
Ronaldo has netted 32 goals in all competitions so far this season - 21 at home and 11 away.
He has featured in four away games for Real since his goal against Eibar without finding the net, struggling to shine in recent La Liga matches against Real Betis and Granada.
"It's understandable that people have doubts," Ronaldo had said earlier. "It's like with a son when you give him everything and then when you take it away, he cries.
"I hope that I can keep this 'bad form' up until the season's end."
Real coach Zinedine Zidane reaffirmed Ronaldo's importance to the team this week after the forward scored twice in a 4-2 win over Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabeu on Saturday.
Real, considered favourites for this year's title along with Bayern Munich and holders Barcelona, have qualified for the last five Champions League semi-finals, winning their historic 10th title - known as 'La Decima' - two years ago.
Yet their record against Italian teams in the competition leaves a lot to be desired, Juventus dominating last year's semi-final and Roma stopping the 'Galacticos' at the knockout phase in 2008.
Current Roma coach Luciano Spalletti, who recently succeeded sacked Frenchman Rudi Garcia, was in charge in 2008 when Real suffered successive 2-1 defeats to Roma in the last 16.
Last year, Carlo Ancelotti's men were humbled at the semi-final stage when Juventus won 2-1 in Turin then battled to a 1-1 draw in Madrid.
If Real require any extra motivation this time around, it could come from the fact they are now under the helm of Zinedine Zidane, who won the trophy as a player with Real in 2002 and as the assistant to Ancelotti two years ago when Real outclassed city rivals Atletico 4-1 in Lisbon.
"It's a special competition for the club, for me and above all for the players," said Zidane on the eve of making his 'full' Champions League debut on the other side of the touchlines.
"We have a lot of history in this competition. The important thing is to be prepared, and we are. Physically, we're good, we're looking forward to the game then we'll see what happens."
Zidane's last appearance for France was at the 2006 World Cup in Germany when he was sent off for a flying headbutt on Italy defender Marco Materazzi.
Italy went on to triumph and on Wednesday Zidane will come face to face with two members of the 2006 Italy squad in Daniele De Rossi and veteran Francesco Totti.
Although Totti is unlikely to play as he has yet to fully recover from a long-term injury, Zidane paid tribute to the 39-year-old club icon's longevity.
"I think you have to take your hat off to him for what he's done for Roma over the years," said Zidane, who refused to be drawn on when Totti should call it a day.
"That decision is up to him. But it's always great for football to have players like him in the game."
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