MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo knows a thing or two about being part of a pacey, direct forward line and has compared the Liverpool team to Real sides of the recent past.
“They remind me of Madrid from a couple of years ago, with three quick players up top,” he said, looking forward to the Champions League final on Saturday.
“If they are in the final, they’re there for a reason and are in it on merit,” he added.
Ronaldo, formerly of Liverpool’s arch-rivals Manchester United, is looking to win a fifth Champions League title in his career, with Madrid seeking their third straight trophy. He is confident they will do it.
“I have a lot of respect for them, but I think Madrid are better. We have to realise the history we can make and we need to show our experience,” said the Portuguese attacker.
“It’ll be something historic, we’re really up for it,” he added.
Ronaldo injured his ankle in the 2-2 draw with Barcelona in El Clasico this month, however he appears to have shaken off any lingering doubts about his fitness after playing an hour of last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Villarreal. He netted his 17th goal in his last 10 La Liga appearances in the process.
“I want to be fine on Saturday, play well, to score if I can, but the important thing is to win – it doesn’t matter who scores, what matters is making history,” he said.
While Madrid’s domestic title defence fell flat, finishing third, 13 points behind winners Barca and three points off city rivals Atletico, Ronaldo feels a Champions League win would more than make up for any disappointment.
“I love this competition. They’re always good games and to win it you need to beat the world’s best teams. It’s a competition in which something always happens, as we saw with Juventus,” he said, referring to the scrambled win in the quarter-final.
“I’ve had an amazing season in the Champions League, scoring in all the group games. You need to be up for it and in this club you can never let up, let alone in this competition, with the history of the club. On a personal level it motivates me a lot.”
Editing by Keith Weir