Cristiano Ronaldo snubs media, Casillas says Madrid 'hit rock bottom'

Cristiano Ronaldo heads the ball to score his team's second goal.

A sensational Champions League night at the Bernabeu ended with Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo refusing to speak to the press after the game and captain Iker Casillas admitting that his side had "hit rock bottom."

Schalke arrived in the Spanish capital with few pundits giving them any chance of progressing, however Roberto Di Matteo's side pushed the reigning European champions all the way -- eventually losing the tie 5-4 on aggregate despite winning the second leg 4-3.

The Germans twice capitalised on Madrid mistakes to take the lead during the opening stages, only for Blancos talisman Ronaldo to twice equalise with excellent headers.

Even after Karim Benzema put Madrid 3-2 ahead on the night soon after half time, the Bundesliga outfit refused to give up, and goals from teenager Leroy Sane and ex-Madrid striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar put their side back within one more of the last eight.

Casillas told reporters after the game that things looked bad now, but at least Madrid would be in the draw for the quarterfinals.

Klaas Jan Huntelaar of Schalke shoots past Iker Casillas.

"It is true that we have hit rock bottom in a most resounding way, but the positive is that Friday next week we are in the draw and we will forget what has happened these 10 days," the Spain international said. "Because we have lived through 10 dramatic days."

Casillas did at least speak with reporters after the game, unlike double goal-scorer Ronaldo, who passed quickly through the Bernabeu mixed zone, just leaving behind the message that he would not speak to the media until the end of the season.

It was not immediately clear why the Portuguese was taking this stance, although his performances had been harshly criticised in the local and global press after Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Athletic Bilbao.

Casillas played a full role in the night's topsy-turvy action, being at least partly at fault for three of Schalke's four goals, and then pulling off two excellent saves as the Bundesliga side pressed for a fifth goal which would have eliminated the holders from the competition.

Asked about his own mistakes and more whistles from unimpressed Bernabeu fans, Casillas admitted he has not been playing at his best recently, but said this was not the time to be singling out individuals.

"I believe that a goalkeeper is always to blame," he said. "These have not been my best games, but it is not the moment to think about one's self. Despite not doing our work well, we have been able to get through."

"We must be united and understand the criticism and the Madrid fans, because we were not up to the level of this club, and the Champions League last 16. We are in a privileged place, and now we must just think about tomorrow. We cannot look back, nor recall the 22 wins, nor any of the other things we have achieved."

Blancos midfielder Toni Kroos was more open in his post-game comments telling German TV that Madrid's defending had been really poor, and the team as a whole was to blame.

"They made use of our bad defending and scored those goals we conceded were well deserved," Kroos said. "We defended really, really bad. It starts in attack. We we were not able to change things during the match."

Luka Modric, who played his first half hour of football in four months after returning from a hamstring injury as a second half substitute, told Canal Plus that he was personally happy to be back, and confident the team could bounce back in Sunday's La Liga game at home to Levante.

"It was very tough for me, and thankfully I am back and very happy about that," Modric said. "It is very important we qualify for the quarterfinals. We did not play well, but sometimes you have to suffer. It is too early yet to look for reasons. We need to play as a team, and hopefully we can return to our form at the start of the season. We have the quality. I believe we will see the best version of Real Madrid in the next game."

Source: ESPN FC


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