Cristiano Ronaldo has insisted he was "misinterpreted" after telling reporters Real Madrid would be top of La Liga if they had more players like himself.
Ronaldo singled out Jese Rodriguez, Lucas Vazquez and Mateo Kovacic for criticism after Real lost Saturday's Madrid derby 1-0 to Atletico thanks to Antoine Griezmann's goal at Santiago Bernabeu.
"If everyone was at my level, perhaps we would be first," he told Cope, before backtracking on his comments.
Ronaldo insisted he was referring to Real's injuries, pointing to the absence of Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Pepe and Karim Benzema, who was substituted at half-time.
"My comments were misinterpreted after the game," Ronaldo told AS.
"I wasn't saying that I'm better than everyone else. I was referring to injuries.
"The team have lost a lot of important players through injury like Pepe, Bale, Benzema, Marcelo. That has harmed us and prevented us from reaching our usual level.
"I have the upmost respect for my team-mates and I'd never want to offend them.
"I don't consider myself better than anyone."
Ronaldo's comments have also been defended by club captain Sergio Ramos, who said: "I don't think he wanted to attack any of his team-mates but perhaps he did not express his opinion in the best way."
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.