Saturday 25 November 2017

Ronaldo fired up to end goal-drought against Schalke

Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking for goals as Real Madrid come up against Schalke 04. Photo: Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking for goals as Real Madrid come up against Schalke 04. Photo: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Jamie Holland

Real Madrid are turning the corner after a stuttering start to the year and will prove it in tonight's Champions League match against Schalke 04, according to coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Real, chasing their 11th European Cup, have struggled this year, having been knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Atletico Madrid while a 4-0 drubbing at their city rivals in La Liga this month cut their lead over second-placed Barcelona to a point.

"With such a result (against Atletico) it is important to turn the corner quickly. We did it well against Deportivo La Coruna (with a 2-0 win) and we are ready to continue that improvement," said Ancelotti.

The Real Madrid coach is confident Cristiano Ronaldo will quickly rediscover his scoring form, with the Portugal captain off colour since winning a third FIFA Ballon d'Or award last month.

Ronaldo again failed to score in last Saturday's unconvincing win at home to Deportivo and has managed only four goals this year - low by his prolific standard.

"Against Deportivo, Cristiano looked physically very good. He had the intensity. I think he is constantly improving."

No club has retained the Champions League trophy since its introduction in 1992-93, but Real are aiming to do just that and Ancelotti said a return to Schalke, after demolishing them 6-1 at the same stage last year before going on to win the title, was a good omen.

"This is fantastic motivation for us," said Ancelotti, who won back-to-back European Cup titles as a player at AC Milan in 1989 and 1990. "We were here (at Schalke) with the dream to win it last year and we are here this year and we have the same dream."

Improving Schalke, fourth in the Bundesliga, hope to have Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar fit as they bid to atone for last season's drubbing but they face the prospect of having to play 19-year-old Timon Wellenreuther in goal.

Schalke 04 v Real Madrid, live, Sky Sports 5, 7.45pm

Irish Independent

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