Champions League

Coach sings Ronaldo's praises

2014-09-30 20:04
Cristiano Ronaldo (AFP)

Sofia - Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player he has ever coached after the Portuguese's blistering start to the season.

Ronaldo has scored 13 goals in nine appearances this season, including back-to-back hat-tricks as Real got their league season back on track with thrashings of Deportivo la Coruna and Elche last week.

"Without disrespecting anyone else, Cristiano is the best player I have coached," Ancelotti said ahead of his side's Champions League match away to Bulgarian champions Ludogorets Razgrad on Wednesday.

"He fights for the shirt and he is a leader. Although he doesn't talk a lot, he leads by example."

Despite scoring five goals himself, Welsh star Gareth Bale has had a far more subdued start to the current campaign.

However, Ancelotti defended Bale's contribution to the side.

"There are moments in a game where you are not at 100 percent, but he is having a great season, just like his teammates.

"He is working hard, scoring goals and I don't have anything I have to explain to him. He knows very well what he has to do and I am satisfied with what he is doing."

Real are the early leaders in Group B after a 5-1 mauling of Basel, but Ancelotti insisted they couldn't take Ludogorets lightly on their first ever home match in the Champions League group stages.

The Bulgarians only lost out 2-1 to Liverpool thanks to a stoppage time penalty from Steven Gerrard in their opening group game and the Italian wants that performance to serve as a warning to his men.

"I don't think there are any modest teams in this competition. We knew how difficult it is to play at Anfield and Ludogorets played a very good game there," added Ancelotti.

"Our objective is to win to put us in a good position in the group."

Playmaker Isco is one of a few Real players who could be handed a rare start after a tough run of five games in 14 days and he repeated his coach's warnings against complacency.

"No game is easy in the Champions League and we have to go out with the same mentality as always, respecting the opponent and going out to win to remain leaders in the group," said the Spanish international.

"We can't think that we will win just because of the badge we wear on our shirts."

Portuguese defender Pepe returns to the Real squad after missing the last three games, but compatriot Fabio Coentrao didn't travel with his teammates due to injury.


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