Sergio Ramos hits back at Gerard Pique blast after Real Madrid beat Barcelona
Sergio Ramos hit back at criticism from Gerard Pique after Real Madrid beat Barcelona to return to the top of the La Liga table.
Real won El Clasico 2-0 thanks to goals from Vinicius Junior and Mariano - but Barca defender Pique said their first-half performance represented "the worst Madrid" he has faced at Santiago Bernabeu.
In response, Madrid captain Ramos said he would gladly play the same way in every Clasico if it meant beating his side's fierce rivals.
"Everyone's opinion is respectable," he told reporters, via Spanish publication AS. "I sign up to win all Clasicos by making a first half as bad as he says.
"The approach was different. In the first half, we left the ball and in the second we decided to go.
"They were not so fresh and we started to generate chances." The win for Zinedine Zidane's side meant they went ahead of Barcelona by a single point with 12 games each to go.
Victory for defending champions Barca would have sent them five points clear of their rivals. And Pique said Barcelona's first Clasico league defeat since April 2016 was "a missed opportunity" after they spurned several chances.
“Madrid in the first half was the worst Madrid I’ve faced at the Bernabeu,” Pique told reporters. “We missed a chance to hurt them.
“We have to play better than in the second half, though. We lost balls and they grew in confidence.
“The feeling they [Madrid] transmitted was the worst, and I don’t say it as a criticism.
"We all have problems in our clubs. But I have the feeling that it’s an important missed opportunity. "I say we lost the opportunity to hit the table. We had full control of the game. In the second half, we let them grow based on our losses and they scored a goal, and in the end the second one.
“If we had taken advantage of several chances, we would have left with an advantage on the scoreboard."
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