Skip to main content

Ronaldo admits Real's Champions League 'anxiety'

January 14, 2013 -- Updated 1743 GMT (0143 HKT)
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo has been voted the second best player in the world in each of the last two years.
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo has been voted the second best player in the world in each of the last two years.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Cristiano Ronaldo says Real Madrid are under pressure to win the Champions League
  • Real have won Europe's premier club competition a record nine times, but only once in last decade
  • Ronaldo confident Real can defeat former club Manchester United in the round of 16
  • Portugal international says he will see out the remainder of his contract with Real

(CNN) -- To the casual observer, Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't look like a man that feels pressure.

He is the driving force behind one of the world's biggest football clubs, Real Madrid, and reached 100 goals for Los Blancos faster than any other player in the Spanish champion's 111-year history.

But the Portugal star admits that, behind the bravado and on-field posturing, he and his teammates are feeling the strain of the expectation that surrounds the Madrid club.

Real's stuttering start to the season leaves them 18 points adrift of Spanish First Division leaders and archrivals Barcelona, with the club's fans now demanding coach Jose Mourinho lead Los Blancos to a record 10th triumph in Europe's premier club competition by way of compensation.

Ronaldo: 'I have bad image on pitch'
A day in the life of Cristiano Ronaldo

Real must overcome Manchester United in their last 16 clash if they are to win the European Champions League for the first time in 11 years -- a tie which will see Ronaldo return to the club where he announced himself as a world-class talent before leaving for Madrid in 2009 in a deal worth $129 million.

Read: Kaka sent off as Real miss Mourinho

"I've been here for three-and-a-half years now," the 27-year-old told FIFA's official website. "Everyone involved is totally focused on winning the club's 10th European Cup. That creates a certain amount of anxiety, which can be felt at all times.

"The pressure is too great and that sometimes can affect us. But we have to try and rise above it and not let what people say get to us, particularly the media, as Real Madrid get spoken about every day.

"Every Madridista wants that 1oth European Cup -- we're more than aware of that. Last season we fell just short, which was very frustrating.

"Fortunately we've got the opportunity to set the record straight this year, though the fact we face Manchester United next makes it more difficult. It's not going to be easy and I reckon the odds are about 50-50, but I'm still very confident."

Read: Ferguson hails "very important" win

However, the worry for Spanish champions Real is that their team has been relatively inconsistent this season. While Barca have notched up a record 18 wins from the same amount of games during the current campaign, Mourinho's team have lost four and drawn four of their first 19 matches.

Different side of Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo's best ever goal?

The crowd at the 85,000-seater Santiago Bernabeu stadium have targeted their frustrations at Mourinho -- a Champions League winner with both Porto and Inter Milan -- and Ronaldo.

"We haven't started the championship very well for sure," Ronaldo continued. "We know that La Liga's an uphill struggle for us now, but nothing's impossible in football. We're going to work hard, win games and see what happens.

He added: "I'm able to respect those who criticize me, because I know they've got the wrong idea about me. People who know me and those who've played alongside me know what kind of a guy I am. Those who don't know me can say and think whatever they want."

Ronaldo's return to United, who are currently leading the English Premier League table, has led many to reflect on the six successful years he spent in Manchester, winning the Champions League and being named World Player of the Year in 2008.

Read: Ronaldo admits perceived arrogance has cost him

United manager Alex Ferguson admitted recently he would like to see Ronaldo return to Old Trafford, but the Madeira-born striker has moved to quell talk of an imminent move by saying he wishes to see out the remainder of his contract at Real, which expires in 2015.

"I want to see out my contract at Real Madrid; I'm very clear about that," he said. "After that, well, I don't know what'll happen in the future."

And head of February's contest between Real and United, Ronaldo is confidence his current club can overcome his former employers.

"No team's unbeatable, but when we're at our best we're a really good side. Manchester United have started the English championship race very well and are a long way ahead of the rest.

"But still, if we play the way we're capable of, we can beat them. To do that we need to pull together and play as a team, like we've done in so many matches before."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT