red-hot run of form and La Liga leaders Real Madrid's almost
perfect home record makes them favourites to see off CSKA Moscow
in their Champions League last 16 second leg on Wednesday.
Ronaldo is Real's leading scorer with 40 goals in all
competitions and he has scored nine in his last six outings,
including two in their 3-2 win at Real Betis on Saturday.
He netted the opener against CSKA last month when Real were
pegged back to a 1-1 draw on the artificial pitch at an ice-cold
Luzhniki stadium - a result which ended Jose Mourinho's perfect
start to the competition.
"Ronaldo is mentally very strong, has a burning desire to
succeed and is very ambitious," former Real striker and current
director Emilio Butragueno was quoted as saying in the Spanish
"He always wants to do the very best, wants to score more
goals and always wants the team to win. He is an example for
Only Barcelona have beaten Mourinho's team at the Bernabeu
this season, otherwise they have won every other game.
They lead the European and Spanish champions by 10 points in
La Liga with 12 matches left to play, and the two sides remain
favourites for a possible Champions League final showdown in
"In Europe you have to be very careful, you cannot afford
any slip ups," Butragueno warned. "The team are in good form and
I hope in front of our own fans we will progress."
CSKA looked below par in Friday's Moscow derby against
Dynamo, which ended in a 1-1 draw, keeping the army team second,
six points behind Premier League leaders Zenit St Petersburg
with 10 games remaining.
CSKA's Ivory Coast striker Seydou Doumbia opened the scoring
with his league leading 25th of the campaign after just two
minutes, before Dynamo came back to level.
"I have to be disappointed with the result as well as the
quality of our game," said CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky.
Influential full-back Sergei Ignashevich was also highly
critical of his team's performance.
"We only played at a high tempo for about five minutes, then
we allowed our opponents to dominate us," the Russian
international said on his personal website.
"If we play like we did today against Real we will have
zero chances in that match."
With first-choice goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev and Chile winger
Mark Gonzalez still out with long-term injuries, Slutsky was
expected to make few changes from the first leg, bringing
back defensive midfielder Pavel Mamayev, who missed the Moscow
match through suspension.
Real Madrid: 1-Iker Casillas, 17-Alvaro Arbeloa, 4-Sergio
Ramos, 3-Pepe, 12-Marcelo; 14-Xabi Alonso, 6-Sami Khedira;
8-Kaka, 10-Mesut Ozil, 7-Cristiano Ronaldo; 9-Karim Benzema.
CSKA Moscow: 1-Sergei Chepchugov; 24-Vasily Berezutsky,
4-Sergei Ignashevich, 6-Alexei Berezutsky, 42-Georgy
Shchennikov; 3-Pontus Wernbloom, 17-Pavel Mamayev, 21-Zoran
Tosic or 26-Sekou Oliseh, 10-Alan Dzagoyev; 8-Seydou Doumbia,
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