Ronaldo gets that winning feeling
Cristiano Ronaldo is confident Real Madrid can end their trophy barren spell this season as his side prepare for the first of four meetings against arch-rivals Barcelona that will go a long way to deciding the destination of three trophies this season.
Barca have held the upper hand in recent clashes between the two, winning each of the last five meetings, while the Catalan giants have also left their counterparts from the capital lagging well behind in the race for honours over the last few years.
Madrid have not tasted success since 2008, when they won Primera Division and Spanish Super Cup, while in stark contrast Barca have walked off with a remarkable eight trophies since Pep Guardiola took charge in the summer of 2008.
Ronaldo, who joined Madrid for a world-record £80million in 2009, hopes that lack of silverware is about to come to an end though, telling Real Madrid TV: "Real Madrid cannot go two years without winning a title. I'm convinced that we are going to win something this season and it's going to be very important.
"The players look very positive and that's a good sign, I like it a lot. There is the ideal atmosphere in the squad for this final straight."
Madrid's hopes of wresting the Primera Division title off two-time defending champions Barca looks to be their least likely path to silverware this season, with Guardiola's men boasting a big advantage at the summit.
Barca are currently eight points clear of second-placed Madrid with seven games remaining, while they also won 5-0 in the first meeting between the two at the Nou Camp.
That was Mourinho's heaviest-ever defeat as coach and something that would prove decisive if the two teams finish level on points and Madrid do not record an equally one-sided victory on Saturday.
Ronaldo, who has scored 40 goals in all competitions this season, said: "We have to win, we are playing at home and we have to put them under pressure. If we win the title race will be open, we cannot throw in the towel.
"After (this weekend), comes the Copa del Rey and the Champions League semi-finals. The important thing is to win and put Barcelona under pressure. If we win (tomorrow) it's going to give us confidence for the cup."
Both Barca and Madrid go into the first of the four Clasicos in buoyant mood after this week progressing through to the last four of the Champions League in midweek.
However, Madrid boss Jose Mourinho riled the media on Friday after opting not to speak at the scheduled pre-match press conference, sending out assistant Aitor Karanka in his place - a move that prompted a walk-out protest by scores of journalists at the club's Valdebebas training ground
Mourinho did appear alongside Karanka for the press conference, but remained silent as his assistant fielded questions from the journalists who remained.
"They don't want a team that is knocked out of the cup by a Segunda Division B side, nor a team who continually fall at the last 16 of the Champions League.
"They want a coach who works 100 per cent every day and is able to make the team fight for every title."
Karanka also spoke about Saturday's clash at the Bernabeu, with a warning to Barca not to expect the same Madrid that were heavily beaten at the Nou Camp.
"The team has improved in many aspects. We've been working together a lot longer, so the team knows itself better and we are in good physical form. We've used the time since the previous Clasico to grow and mature as a side," he said.