Former Barcelona President Joan Laporta has given his surprise public backing to Cristiano Ronaldo following the player's alleged unhappiness at Barca's staunch rivals Real Madrid.
Ronaldo, 27, has been at the centre of a storm recently after admitting to his "sadness" at the Bernabeu, which has left many puzzled and debating his reasoning.
It has been reported that he has been trying to earn a new bumper deal at the club, which has drawn much criticism at a time when Spain is struggling with austerity measures and unemployment. However, Laporta has risked the wrath of Barca's following to defend the Portugal captain, who has hit 150 goals in 149 games for Real.
"I don't know why he is sad. Everyone is on his back," Laporta told AS. "I understand the lad is under a lot of pressure. He's human and everyone is affected by what goes on around them. It happened to me, where you say something because you really feel it and then you see it have major repercussions.
"I think Cristiano is a fine professional. Madrid will ensure he gets his happiness back and feels as good as he can. It's obvious that he lives under enormous pressure and that is not easy. People have said a lot of things that aren't fair to him for the professional he is.''
And Laporta's Madrid love-in did not stop there as he also chose to shower praise in the direction of their manager, who has few friends at the Nou Camp after poking Tito Vilanova in the eye.
"[Jose] Mourinho is a great professional,'' he added. "He said he's sorry for what happened with Tito and I think it did him good. I liked that a lot because I believe he is a good professional and I admire him for moving on.''