Atlético Madrid beat their crosstown rivals Real Madrid in the league at the Santiago Bernabéu today thanks to Antoine Griezmann’s nifty little goal. Ronaldo missed a similar shot right before Griezmann nailed his chance, and Atlético’s fearsome defense held their rivals scoreless. Today, Atlético became the first visiting team to win three straight league games at the Bernabéu, and more or less ended Madrid’s chances of catching Barcelona for the La Liga title.

After the game, Ronaldo said that if his Real Madrid teammates were “at his level,” then they’d win the league:

He attempted to clarify later, telling AS that his remarks were about fitness, rather than skill:

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They have misinterpreted my statements after the match. I was not saying I’m better than others. I meant the physical part and injuries.

Whether or not he’s telling the truth about the fitness thing, I don’t exactly mind this from Ronaldo. It’s always refreshing for athletes, particularly such laser-managed elite ones like CR7, to voice their frustrations and not fall back on a cascade of platitudes.

Ronaldo’s team has one of the highest payrolls in sports, and Real’s problems have more to do with their organizational structure than the players they put on the field. They’ve carouselled through three coaches in the past 12 months and they haven’t had an extended run with their best XI healthy in some time.

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Anyone would be heated after losing to a rival, especially one that’s had your number for so long. It’d be hard for Ronaldo to look across the aisle at Atlético and the efficiency with which Cholo Simeone runs his team and not be frustrated. Real are always supposed to beat Atlético, and they haven’t been doing so as much as money and history say they should. Ronaldo’s comments say more about the inversion of the traditional power dynamic between the two Madrid teams than any kind of terminal fracture within Real Madrid.

Photo via Getty

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Contact the author at patrick.redford@deadspin.com.