Cristiano Ronaldo has reflected on Real Madrid’s ambition to defeat Juventus in an ‘important but not decisive’ week, and on pressure on Gareth Bale.
Madrid play host to Juve this Wednesday evening in the third round of matches in the Champions League group phase.
With Los Blancos heading Group B with maximum points and Juventus labouring with two points from the first two games and having been defeated domestically at the weekend, it was put to Ronaldo today that the visitors will be in need of the win more than Madrid.
“No I do not agree here,” responded the 28-year-old in fielding questions from the assembled media today.
“We have six points in the group – nobody qualifies with six points. We want to win every game.
“To play against Juventus, it is a great match, any player wants to play in it. We are all focused on trying to win.
“We expect a strong opponent even if they have lost their last match in Serie A. They are a very experienced team with mature players so we have to play well.
“We must play our football, with intensity and we must concentrate. If we do so then we can win and we will almost have secured passage to the next round.
“We are getting better. We began the season poorly, but we are improving on many aspects. We have to go step by step.
“Can we win the competition? The Champions League is the most important tournament, but whatever competition I compete in I want to win it.
“We want nine points on the board by the end of tomorrow night.”
Madrid then head out to Barcelona for the first League Clasico of the season.
“I don't think it is a decisive week but it's true that it is an important one for us. We didn't start as we would have liked but we are getting better.
“We are calm, focused. We want to win tomorrow as that will also give us confidence for the game against Barcelona at the weekend.
“We must get better in every aspect. I don't see a single thing we must improve on, it is in all areas. But it is a thing of great pride to work with this Coach [Carlo Ancelotti]- he is doing an extraordinary job. You can't say more than that. I am willing to give my all for him.
“Of course we can win our next two games. We are Real Madrid. Like I said, we must keep working. We are going to be fine come the end of the season.
Ronaldo was asked for his views on Karim Benzema’s goalscoring drought and Gareth Bale’s adaptation in Madrid and how it may affect his own position on the pitch.
“Every player has good and bad moments. Benzema is important for the team even though he might not be scoring a lot of goals.
“He is a professional and he is always ready. I see him in good spirits, he is calm. He always looks to help out the team by scoring or otherwise.
“Bale? He has been doing well since he arrived. He didn't put in a pre-season so that made things a bit more difficult for him.
“We can't pressurise him, we must allow him to develop here. He always wants to learn, he's a fantastic guy. I don't think talking about his price tag helps him and we must leave him alone in that aspect. He will do great things for the team.
“My position? I play in the same position as always. Nothing has changed. The Coach gives me the freedom to play where I feel most comfortable.
“Sometimes I may move into the middle, but I am always in my position.”
Luciano Moggi suggested once more this week that Wednesday’s opponents were once close to securing his signature as an 18-year-old.
“I have been close to everyone. They can say what they want but I only signed for Manchester United. It is a good thing that so many clubs wanted me when I was so young, 18, and yes, many clubs were interested in signing me.
“The reason why [Manchester United] was, for their history, for the manager that they had and that I was given assurances to grow as a player and a person in Manchester.”
The player scored at the weekend against Malaga, but celebrated by indicating to the fans an apology for earlier missed chances.
“People know, they are smart and the know what I meant. Now it is a new day.”