Espanyol face Real Madrid in the Primera Division on Saturday, and their captain is puzzled by the criticism that los Merengues' Portuguese star has received from some quarters.

"Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't have to prove anything," Ivan de la Pena stated in an interview with AS.

"I saw him play against Deportivo La Coruna and I liked him. The fact is any Real Madrid player can turn a game: [Karim] Benzema, Kaka, Cristiano, Raul...

"Xabi Alonso gives the team a lot of options," the 33-year-old added.

While the 'Little Buddha' was full of praise for Saturday night's opposition, he is also quietly confident that Espanyol could find a result against their illustrious opponents.

"We must be ourselves and play our football. If we are able to play a good game, we will get a good result. We want to play a part," he declared.

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