Cristiano Ronaldo believes too much pressure has been heaped upon his new Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale due to his enormous cost. The Welshman arrived from Tottenham Hotspur in September for a fee of €91m, according to Merengue president Florentino Perez.
And a series of niggling injuries have meant the 24-year-old hasn't yet completed 90 minutes for his new employers. However, Ronaldo, who successfully made the transition from the Premier League to La Liga when he joined Real from Manchester United in 2009, is sure Bale will come good.
"I think Gareth Bale has done well," he told a press conference on Tuesday. "He had a difficult time because he didn't do a pre-season. I understand that and if you speak with him you can see he is very excited to help the team, but it is better to leave him alone and not add pressure.
"He is a fantastic player, a fantastic boy, and he always wants to learn. People put pressure on him because of how much he cost. I leave him alone because I am sure, 100 per cent, that he is going to do well for the club."
Due to Bale's lack of playing time so far, the two haven't been able to build up any sort of partnership on the field. However, Ronaldo dismissed any suggestions that their similar style may make them incompatible in the same team.
"I think all the good players can play together," he said. "I want to play with good players, no matter who they are, and I think we can win important things together."
Ancelotti certain Bale, Ronaldo can co-exist
Meanwhile Real coach Carlo Ancelotti backed up Ronaldo and said Bale's return to full fitness following a slight thigh injury would not mean a change of position for the Portuguese superstar.
"In general I think good players can play together and it is good for the team if they play together," said the Italian. "The debate about Bale and Ronaldo is outside of Real Madrid, not inside.
"Even objectively, one is used to playing on the left and one on the right. Cristiano Ronaldo will start on the wing and afterwards he scores goals in the centre because it is very difficult to score goals from on the wing. It is important not to fixate so much on the position of a player when he scores 60 goals a season."
Both Bale and Ronaldo will feature when Real host Juventus at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night. Victory will all but secure the Madrid heavyweights' passage to the last 16 as they comfortably lead Group B with six points from two games, four ahead of the Italian champions, who are second.
However, Ronaldo insisted their job is not yet done as they seek to continue the improvement they showed in beating Malaga on Saturday ahead of this weekend's clash away to Barcelona.
"It is not more important for Juventus, because we have six points and that doesn't qualify anyone," he stressed. "We expect a strong Juventus, for the size of the club and the experienced players they have.
"This is an important week. Obviously we didn't start the season as we wanted, but we are improving and we want to gain confidence by beating Juventus ahead of Barcelona."