Cristiano Ronaldo insists that Real Madrid will not underestimate Juventus when the two teams meet at the Bernabeu in a Champions League clash tomorrow evening.
Real Madrid come into the match having won both their group games so far, beating Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen, while Juventus have drawn both their matches, against the same opponents bRonaldo is not about to take victory over the Italian champions for granted.
“We have six points in the table but that is not enough to make it out of the group. Nine points would take us much closer“, the Portuguese told a press conference.
We are playing at home and against a strong Juventus team. Their last game might not have gone well, but that does not mean they aren’t a great team with good players.
“We need to be focused and to play our best football to win.“
Cristiano Ronaldo on Gareth Bale
Cristiano Ronaldo has also backed fellow Real Madrid new mega signing Gareth Bale to come good and prove his critics wrong.
Summer signing Bale has only been able to complete 146 minutes of action since his world record €100 million move after seeing the opening few weeks of his Bernabeu spell disrupted by injuries.
His participation in Saturday’s Clasico clash with Barcelona could depend on whether he comes through Wednesday night’s Champions League clash with Juventus unscathed.
Ronaldo had supportive words for the Welsh star, however, insisting he should be given time to recover from his physical problems.
“He couldn’t take part in pre-season and has been injured so things have been difficult for him,” said the Portuguese. “We can’t pressurise him, we must allow him to develop here.”
“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.”
Ronaldo also praised Bale’s eager spirit and pledged to provide any support the former Tottenham ace may need as he adjusts to life in a new country. “He always wants to learn and he’s a great guy,” he enthused. “When I talk to him, I can see how emotional he is about playing for Real Madrid and getting better all the time.
“If he asks for advice, of course I’ll give it to him because I’ve got sympathy for him. He’s a humble guy.”
Wednesday’s home meeting with Juventus is the first part of a momentous week for Madrid as they also prepare for the first Clasico of the season on Saturday, and Ronaldo is setting his sights high as he aims for a maximum of six points from the two encounters.
“Our wish is to beat Juve and then beat Barca,” he stated. “I don’t think it will be a decisive week, but it is very important. We didn’t start the season as we wanted to, but we’re getting better and we have to continue to improve.”
Carlo Ancelotti on Real Madrid-Juventus Match
Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, meanwhile, is looking forward to the opportunity of going up against one of his former clubs. Ancelotti spent two seasons in charge at Juventus between 1999-2001 before being sacked after twice finishing as runner-up in Serie A, but he insists he became a better manager as a result of his time in Turin.
“My experience at Juventus was very important in terms of my growth as a coach and a person,” he said. “The results maybe were not great but my experiences and memories from that time are good ones.”
Juve suffered their first league defeat of the season on Sunday, conceding four goals in the space of fifteen minutes to go down 4-2 at Fiorentina, but Ancelotti is drawing little comfort from that rare blip.
“We have to analyse all aspects of Juve’s last game, not just the 15 minutes when they struggled,” he reasoned. “They have a lot of quality and their overall strength lies in their organisation.”
Press Conference Pictures: