Ronaldo turns attention to Clasico


Published: Thursday 23rd October 2014 by The News Editor

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Cristiano Ronaldo played down the significance of his personal duel with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi after helping Real Madrid to a morale-boosting pre-Clasico triumph at Liverpool.

The Portugal forward broke his six-match duck at Anfield with a superb opener to edge within one goal of club icon Raul’s all-time Champions League goalscoring record on Wednesday, with Karim Benzema’s brace wrapping up a 3-0 win before half-time.

The result kept Carlo Ancelotti’s side perfect in Group B and allowed them to turn their full focus to Saturday’s mouthwatering first clash of the season with arch-rivals Barca.

The match will see reigning Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo renew his rivalry with four-time previous holder Messi, but the former Manchester United man has acknowledged the game will not just be about the teams’ respective superstar forwards.

“It will be a difficult match because Barcelona are playing well,” he said on “I’m not going to play against Messi, I’m going to play against Barcelona. They are a great team. Real Madrid and Barcelona are playing each other.”

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez could make his debut for the Catalan giants after serving a four-month ban for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.

Barca head to the Bernabeu having beaten Ajax 3-1 at the Nou Camp on Tuesday – meaning they will have had an extra day’s rest with Real in action on Merseyside 24 hours later.

The fixture scheduling has not gone unnoticed by the European champions, with Ronaldo expressing his bemusement after Wednesday’s game, but he insisted Real were in confident mood and were not looking for advance excuses.

“We’re not going to make any excuses, but I don’t understand why they put the match on Saturday,” Ronaldo said.

“It is a difficult match and all footballers know that an extra day’s rest is significant. Cup matches aren’t so important. However, I don’t want to make excuses because the team is fine and confident.”

Ronaldo’s strike against Liverpool got him within touching distance of Raul’s 71-goal mark, but he maintained his main concern was the win rather than any personal feat.

“I’m not worried about beating the record but I am very happy about the good job,” he said. “The best thing is that the team won and got three points. It was a perfect night.

“It is a very important victory. I had never won or scored here. I feel good. The record is not the important thing. The important thing is playing well, playing attractive football.”

Midfielder Isco was thrilled with the manner of his side’s success and felt it sent the right message ahead of the weekend blockbuster.

“The whole team deserves the credit,” the 22-year-old Spain international said. “It’s not easy to win here and even less so in the way that we did, and that gives us a boost for the Clasico. We can’t wait for Saturday.”

Published: Thursday 23rd October 2014 by The News Editor

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