Cristiano Ronaldo launched an astonishing criticism of his team-mates after Real Madrid lost 1-0 to local rivals Atletico Madrid on Sunday, claiming: "If we were all at my level maybe we would be leaders."
Antoine Griezmann hit the only goal of the game in the 53rd minute to give Atletico a third consecutive league win at the Bernabeu, strengthening his side's grip on second place in the Primera Division table and stretching their lead over their local rivals to four points.
Speaking to reporters in the mixed zone after the game, Ronaldo criticised the performance of his team-mates and lamented the absence of injured players Gareth Bale, Marcelo, Pepe and Karim Benzema, the Frenchman forced off at half-time with a hip problem.
"If we were all at my level, maybe we would be leaders," Ronaldo said, quoted in Marca.
"I don't want to disrespect anyone, but when the best players aren't available it's harder to win. I like to play with Karim, with Bale, with Marcelo.
"I'm not saying the others like Lucas [Vazquez], Jese and [Mateo] Kovacic are not good players - they are very good players - but it's not the same."
The forward also hit out at the assembled journalists for their perceived criticism of his form, declaring: "For all you guys it seems I am s***, but I don't listen to what the press say. The statistics and numbers don't lie."
Real dominated possession but could not test visiting keeper Jan Oblak severely enough and were denied a second-half penalty when Danilo went down under Gabi's challenge.
Zinedine Zidane's first defeat as Real coach means they remain nine points behind leaders Barcelona in third place.
Celta Vigo moved level on points with fifth-placed Sevilla, who play Barcelona on Sunday, with a 1-0 win over Getafe.
Nolito scored the only goal, his first for three months - much of which has been spent on the sidelines with a torn hamstring.
Espanyol came from behind to beat fellow strugglers Sporting Gijon 4-2 and record consecutive league victories for the first time since September.
Carlos Castro gave the hosts the lead but Espanyol winger Burgui scored a spectacular equaliser and Gerard Moreno's double put them in control.
Castro netted again but team-mate Luis Hernandez then scored an own goal before Nacho Cases was sent off.
Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano shared the spoils in a game of two halves.
Ruben Castro scored twice to put Betis in control at half-time, but Manucho emulated that achievement after the interval to secure Rayo's third successive 2-2 draw - and their fourth in five games.
Real Sociedad came from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw with Malaga in the day's final match, with Imanol Agirretxe cancelling out Duje Cop's opener.