Alonso row with Ronaldo played down

Real Madrid's leading scorer Gonzalo Higuain has played down the penalty row between Xabi Alonso and Cristiano Ronaldo during the 6-2 win over Villarreal.

The pair appeared to disagree over who should take the penalty which resulted in Madrid's sixth goal and Ronaldo did not celebrate with his team-mates after Alonso eventually converted it.

The exchange between the two was later broadcast by Spanish TV station Canal+ but Higuain is not attaching too much importance to it.

"These are circumstances of the game, Xabi had the vision of scoring his first goal for Madrid and nothing more," he said.

Higuain was himself chief penalty taker last year, a job he was not overly disappointed about losing.

"If I'm called upon then I'll take it, but the takers are as previously designated," he said.

"Kaka takes them very well, has not missed any, and so do Cristiano, Raul... and Xabi did very well."

With or without penalties, Higuain has been in a rich vein of form this year, netting 14 so far in La Liga.

"Scoring makes me very happy," he said in comments on www.realmadrid.com. "I try to grow as a player and person every year. I have improved a lot over the last three years, but there is still room for growth.

"Finishing as the league's top scorer would be incredible, but my goal, which I stated at the start of the season, is to do better than last year."

Madrid are two points behind Barcelona in the table with a home game against the champions still to come, whilst their Champions League challenge is also still alive despite losing 1-0 at Lyon in the first leg of their last-16 tie last week.

"We control our own destiny in both competitions, but both will be very difficult to win," said Higuain. "There is a long way to go. Winning would be a dream come true for us and this great project.

"We are playing the way we should. This is a crucial point of the season and we are two points off the lead in La Liga. We need to stay focused and be in top form for the second leg of the Champions League against Lyon."

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