Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has described Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo as the stronghold of the reigning European champions’ new-found confidence and balance.
The Anfield club will face Real at the Santiago Bernebeu on Tuesday night, hoping to get their campaign back on track.
The northern Irish boss said; “He (Ronaldo) has been impressive for a number of years and he’s playing with great confidence and enthusiasm.”
The ‘Los Blancos’ have recorded maximum points from their first three matches in Europe and has reeled off 11 consecutive wins since they lost the Madrid Derby on domestic front.
Ronaldo one-goal per game scoring rate in the Uefa Champions League this season is only a minute fraction of his performance in the La Liga where he has scored 17 times in 9 matches- that is four more goals than Liverpool has managed in the Premier League so far in the current campaign.
But with Real summer signings, Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez, having adapted well with the style of play at the Bernebeu, especially in the absence of Gareth Bale who is “ready” to play against the ‘Reds’, Rodgers also thinks Real are more of a side with balance.
“We’re also playing against the team, which is a very, very good team,” remarked Rodgers. “But I think Cristiano, at this moment in time, is probably the best player in the world.
“But he will tell you himself that it’s very much about the team. They work very hard and they come off the back of a victory at the weekend.
“They have some outstanding players in Karim Benzema, Isco, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and the other players. It’s very much a team effort from Real Madrid. But certainly, he’s the catalyst of that team.”
Ronaldo not obsessed about landmark achievement
Real coach Carlo Ancelotti insists Ronaldo is focused on continuing being a team player and not obsessed about rewriting the Champions League history book when they host Liverpool.
The Portuguese superstar, 29, is just a goal away from equaling Raul’s tally of 71 goals in Europe’s flagship club football competition. The reigning world footballer of the year broke the deadlock at Anfield a fortnight ago with a strike of outstanding technique and vision.
Speaking on Monday ahead of the return leg in Madrid, the Italian boss spoke in glowing terms about the talismanic winger but downplayed all effect talk of landmark achievement could have on the player’s performance.
“Cristiano is working hard for himself and the side, just like other players,” said the 55-year-old. “I don’t think he’s thinking about the record, he has time- it’s not his last game. He is focused on playing for the team.”