Sunday, September 27

Real not a ‘great team’, says Ronaldo

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MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo said Thursday he is confident that Real Madrid will beat arch-rivals Barcelona this weekend even though his side is not currently a “great team”.“We are good but we are not great,” he told a press conference ahead of today’s “El Classico” at home against Barcelona, the reigning European and Spanish champions.

“We know how well they play and how difficult they are to beat, but we also have our artillery. We have a good chance of winning as long as we stay focused. I am sure we will play well,” the Portuguese winger added.

“That said, I wouldn’t mind losing on Saturday as long as we win the league. What difference is there if we beat Barcelona and then lose the next two matches?”.

Real are on top of the standings on goal difference from Barcelona with eight games remaining.

Barcelona are heading into their matched buoyed by their 4-1 win at home on Tuesday over Arsenal which sent them into the Champions League semi-finals with all four of their goals supplied by their Argentine winger Lionel Messi.

Real was eliminated from the competition at the last 16 stage for the sixth successive season.

Fans are eagerly awaiting today’s match to see which of the two most recent winners of the prestigious Ballon D’Or award — Messi in 2009 and Ronaldo in 2008 — will perform better.

“I am taller and wider than Messi,” Ronaldo joked when asked who will be the better player.

“He is having a great season and will now and forever be among the best players ever. But the coach and entire team also deserve credit. Messi does not play alone. He has great players by his side.

“I am working very hard, I am happy and I hope to continue feeling good. I will also be one of the best players around while I play here.”

Messi is the top scorer in the Spanish league with 26 goals while 25-year-old Ronaldo is La Liga’s fourth most prolific scorer with 18 goals. — AFP