Mesut Ozil has hit out at the media's "constant negativity" towards former Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ozil played alongside Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu for three seasons, but left for Arsenal before Los Blancos started to dominate in the Champions League.
37-year-old Ronaldo has dominated the headlines in recent months after falling out of favour at Manchester United, and mutually terminated his contract with the Red Devils in November after conducting an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
Ronaldo has remained in the limelight at the World Cup, too, with manager Fernando Santos dropping him from Portugal's World Cup round of 16 clash against Switzerland for what he described as 'tactical reasons' - though there had been rumours of a falling out between the pair.
The continued scrutiny of Ronaldo has now drawn the ire of Ozil, who took to Twitter to criticise the media for their recent reporting.
"I really don't get where this constant negativity from the press about Cristiano comes from... The Media is just trying to get clicks, and pundits who don't have a career anymore just want to get attention with his big name and try to make him look bad," Ozil wrote.
"He is soon 38 years old - so what's the surprise that he doesn't score 50 goals a season anymore? Every football fan out there should be happy to have seen him playing world class football for 20 years.
"I don't think anyone from the new generation will be able to match his numbers again. He will forever be in his own category. Everyone should show more respect to one of the greatest athletes in sports history."
In Ronaldo's absence against Switzerland, Portugal booked a place in the quarter-finals with a comprehensive 6-1 win - inspired by hat-trick hero Goncalo Ramos, who replaced Ronaldo in the starting lineup.
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