‘Ronaldo never been doubted’

Aitor Karanka has praised Cristiano Ronaldo for his return to scoring form, insisting that his quality has never been in doubt.

The Portuguese netted a hat-trick for Madrid in Wednesday evening’s 4-0 second leg win over Celta Vigo, for the capital club to progress to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Following on from his double against Real Sociedad at the weekend, the forward has five goals from his last two games, to make his career tally at the club 174 goals from 172 games.

“His goals and performance are there for all to see, and his performance the other day. What we have seen is more than enough to assess it,” Karanka reflected after the Last 16 win over Celta.

“There are never any doubts about Cristiano. Recently when he has not been scoring as normal, the team has felt it, logically.

“Now that he’s back scoring, and the number of goals he’s scoring and the confidence it gives him, it’s important for the rest of the team.”

Karanka, who was speaking in place of Jose Mourinho post-match, then turned his attention to Luka Modric.

“It’s obvious that Luka has suffered due to not being here during pre-season with all the other players and that the team was not playing well.

“When these things happen the player doesn’t find his place in the team or have any confidence, but we didn’t and we do not doubt the type of performance he can give.

“That’s why we signed him and know that we’re coming to the final stage we know the type of player he is.”

The assistant Coach was asked for his take on the fans’ division over Mourinho.

“The Coach said it, the fans do what they believe. He is in charge of working and getting the best for Real Madrid. Being with him you are aware of what he does.

“And if the fans whistle it’s because they are not happy. We are here to work and that’s the way we’ve done it for the last two-and-a-half years.

“Mourinho’s absence from the Ballon d’Or gala? He hasn't been caught out, he said he had to work and that’s what he did. Later he went to see his son and in this life there is nothing more beautiful than being with your son after completing your obligations and he had completed them.

“Today we have seen that the team won its match and the manner in which they have won. We were perfectly aware of how Celta played and the work of the Coach is there for all to see.”

Mourinho has divided opinion for his dropping of Iker Casillas from first-team duties. Casillas played against Celta and is likely to again at the weekend due to Antonio Adan’s suspension.

“It is something that we have talked about since we’ve come back from holidays. Casillas has made good saves, Cristiano has scored three goals and that’s what we ask of our players, that they are at the highest level. We work to pick the 11 that will give the best performance.

“The weekend? We’ll see about that in training this week. What we want is to arrive in Pamplona on Saturday and have doubts about the starting XI because the 24 squad members are training at 100 per cent.

“That will be good for Real Madrid because we will have a team we can rely on and that will give a good performance, and that is what we all want.”

Tags Karanka Ronaldo