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No rift with Cristiano Ronaldo: Rafael Benitez

Melbourne: Real Madrid manager Rafael Benitez yesterday hailed superstar Cristiano Ronaldo as the best in the world as he played down reports of tension between the pair.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo attends a training session in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo attends a training session in Melbourne yesterday. Pic/AFP 

Real Madrid take on English Premier League heavyweights Manchester City in the final match of the International Champions Cup in Melbourne today. However, Spanish reports say the atmosphere has become testy on the training pitch during the club's pre-season tour of Australia.

But Benitez, who took over from Carlo Ancelotti in June, suggested he had no problems with Ronaldo. "Luckily, I have had the opportunity this week to spend quite a few days with him," Benitez said. "And I can say that he's competitive, he likes to win, and for that reason he is the best in the world.

"I would like all players to have that desire to win and to compete. You've all seen him train today and I think his performance will be up to scratch. I talk to all the players a lot. I have had the opportunity to talk to him, too. We talked about football and yes, he is competitive."

'Ramos 100% staying'
Benitez also said that he is "100 per cent" confident skipper Sergio Ramos will stay at Real Madrid. "Yes, for me 100 per cent (staying). I insist that it is clear for both me and the club that Sergio will be here. Football is a curious world, but Sergio will be playing for us this season," he said.

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