Ronaldo plays down Messi talk
Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has played down talk of Monday’s El Clasico being merely a duel being him and Barcelona ace Lionel Messi.
The duo are widely regarded as the best players on the planet at present and both go into the Nou Camp showdown in phenomenal form.
Ronaldo, 25, has struck 17 times in his last 12 competitive outings for Madrid, while he has netted 51 goals in just 54 appearances for the Spanish giants overall since his record-breaking £80million move from Manchester United in the summer of 2009.
Messi, 23, is proving equally as unstoppable and has 16 goals in his last 11 appearances for the Catalan giants – during which streak he has netted his sixth hat-trick of 2010 for the club and his 150th official goal for Barca.
The duo are also the leading two scorers in La Liga, with Ronaldo having netted 14 goals compared to 13 from Messi.
It is a mouthwatering prospect to see the two superstars go head-to-head in what is one of the most eagerly-awaited Clasicos in recent times, but Ronaldo insists the focus should not solely be on the of them.
When asked his thoughts on the subject, Ronaldo described it as: "silly talk"
"It’s part of the news, of the press, to sell newspapers. It’s normal, but I don’t see the game as a duel between us. We are playing 11 against 11, we have to be concerned about everyone," the Portugal international said.
"Of course anyone who scores goals is dangerous, but we have to think about everyone."
Regarding his own role in the Madrid side, Ronaldo said: "I’m one more player in this team. Things are going well, as much for me as the team, but I don’t considered myself to be under more pressure than others.
"We all have responsibilities. I always want more, that’s the way I am, but my team-mates have the same objectives, they all want to do their best, like me."
The match pits the leading two teams in La Liga against each other, with pacesetters Madrid holding a one-point advantage over Barca, who in turn are seven points clear of third-placed Villarreal as the battle for the Primera Division title already looks to be another two-horse race.
Last season there was a 25-point gap between the two Spanish superpowers and Valencia in third come the end of the campaign, with Barca finishing three points clear of Madrid after winning both meetings with the capital club.
With that in mind, it could be that the two encounters this season will again be crucial.
Ronaldo said: "That could be the case, or it might not be, it’s unknown. We will play to win, it’s a very important game, we want to win. Will it be decisive? We’ll see what happens during the season.
"I hope it’s a completely different story (this season). We haven’t lost this season, and this is important because it gives you confidence, but neither can we be relaxed because we know it will be difficult.
"I’m confident because the team are in good form, the coach (Jose Mourinho) has given us confidence, and we hope to get a good result."