BARCELONA (Reuters) - If Real Madrid win their 10th European title this season, coach Jose Mourinho will no doubt take many of the plaudits but it is his Portuguese compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo who continues to do the business on the pitch.
Ronaldo struck twice in Tuesday’s 3-2 quarter-final, second leg defeat at Galatasaray, which put Real through to the last four of the Champions League 5-3 on aggregate, taking his tally in the latest edition of the competition to 11 in 10 matches.
Lionel Messi of Barcelona has topped the scoring chart the past four seasons but Ronaldo is on course to displace his great rival with the Argentine World Player of the Year on eight goals ahead of Wednesday’s match against Paris St Germain.
Ronaldo, 28, who became the world’s most expensive player when he joined Real from Manchester United for a fee of around 90 million euros (76.6 million pounds) in 2009, now has 50 goals in Europe, 34 for the La Liga champions and 16 for United.
“There nothing left to say, the statistics are there and speak for themselves,” Mourinho told a news conference after the game in Istanbul.
“What I think about Ronaldo is what everyone thinks,” he added. “I don’t think anyone in perfect mental health thinks any differently.”
Ronaldo initially found it tough to win over the Real fans when he arrived in the Spanish capital and raised eyebrows earlier this season when he complained of being “unhappy for professional reasons”.
He has mainly let his football do the talking since then and although Real’s La Liga title defence has faltered they have every chance of securing the record 10th European title that has eluded them since their last triumph in 2002.
“Goals help us to win matches and it is what I have been doing since I arrived here (at Real),” Ronaldo told reporters.
“I am and I feel good and motivated,” he added.
“The team too and they are giving me good passes so I can do my work, which is to score goals.”
Real’s stumble in Istanbul, when Galatasaray scored three goals in 15 second-half minutes, will be a matter of some concern for Mourinho and Ronaldo said there was plenty of room for improvement.
“You always learn from your mistakes,” he said.
“The team always tries its best but sometimes we make mistakes,” he added.
“It’s better that it happens now than in a decisive match. We have to improve in many areas but we are happy to get through to the semi-finals.”
Editing by John O'Brien