Ronaldo wants goals in ‘special’ clasico

The Portugal international is desperate to find the net in his side’s clash against Barcelona on Saturday and says he wants to play at the highest level for years to come

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo says Saturday’s Clasico against Barcelona is a “special” fixture, but one that he will approach like any other.

The two sides meet for the first time this season at the Bernabeu on Saturday as Madrid look to close the four-point gap between themselves and league leaders Barca.

The Portugal international comes into the weekend as La Liga top scorer and has set his sights on extending his lead at the top of the charts.

“I will do what I have done in every other game,” said Ronaldo at a boot presentation.  

“Weather I am playing against Barcelona or any other team, I always work the same.

“This is a very special game and I will try to score goals.”

His 15 goals after just eight matchdays is the best start anyone has had to a season in Spain’s top flight, but the two-time Ballon d’Or winner insists there is much more to come from him this season and beyond.

“My greatest ambition is to continue at the highest level for as long as possible.

“Each season is a new challenge for me and this year I will try to do the same. The goal every season is always to be the best.”

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10 2014
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Zamorano: Luis Enrique was once desperate to beat Barca

The ex-Chile international recalls the days when the current Blaugrana boss stood firmly on the other side of the Clasico divide

Ivan Zamorano says his former Real Madrid team-mate Luis Enrique was totally ‘transformed’ ahead of Clasicos, as he was so keen to beat Barcelona.

Luis Enrique spent five seasons with Madrid before leaving on a free transfer to join rivals Barcelona – who he leads into Saturday’s clash as head coach.

But former Chile international Zamorano has recalled the days when the current Barca boss stood firmly on the other side of the Clasico divide.

“As a player, Luis Enrique was another of those who prepared for these games in his own unique way,” former Chile international Zamorano told AS.

“He is a hugely passionate individual and this was reflected in the way he trained, played during a game even the way he spoke. In the Clasicos, he transformed totally and had a strong desire to beat Barca.”

Zamorano, a Liga winner with Madrid in 1995, went on to stress the significance of the derby matches, revealing it was the first lesson taught to new arrivals at the Bernabeu.

“The first thing I learnt at the club is the importance of winning the games against Barca,” he said.

“I was taught how it’s more than a game of football; it touches on social and political aspects, centralism against independence.

“These were games where no additional motivation was needed. I was fortunate to play in many Clasicos and score decisive goals too.”

Barca will arrive at the Bernabeu on Saturday as liga leaders, four points ahead of their hosts and yet to concede a goal in eight matches.

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10 2014
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Suarez: The bad days are behind me

The Uruguay international admits his previous behaviour was ‘wrong’ and says he has left his controversial past behind him

Luis Suarez has promised the “bad” days are behind him ahead of his Barcelona debut on Saturday in the Clasico.

The Uruguay international was handed a four-month ban in June for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.

He had been reprimanded on two previous occasions for similar offences after biting PSV’s Otman Bakkal in 2010 and Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in 2013 and Suarez admits he has a problem, but believes he is on the “right path” to overcoming the issue.

“I think all the bad things I have been through are in the past,” Suarez told The Guardian. “I believe I am on the right path now, dealing with the people who can help me, the right kind of people.

“Everyone has different ways of defending themselves. In my case, the pressure and tension came out in that way.

“There are other players who react by breaking someone’s leg, or smashing someone’s nose across their face. What happened with Chiellini is seen as worse. I understand why biting is seen so badly.”

However, Suarez – who could make his first competitive Barca outing in Saturday’s much-anticipated Clasico encounter with Real Madrid – remains unrepentant over his row with Patrice Evra in October 2011, for which he was banned for eight games and fined £40,000 after being found guilty of racial abuse.

“I know I was wrong with the biting and the diving but I was accused of racism without any proof,” he added. “There were lots of cameras, but no evidence. It hurts me the most that it was my word against theirs.”

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10 2014
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Suarez: The bad and ugly days are behind me

The Uruguay international admits his previous behaviour was ‘wrong’ and says he has left his controversial past behind him

Luis Suarez has promised the “bad” days are behind him ahead of his Barcelona debut on Saturday in the Clasico.

The Uruguay international was handed a four-month ban in June for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.

He had been reprimanded on two previous occasions for similar offences after biting PSV’s Otman Bakkal in 2010 and Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic in 2013 and Suarez admits he has a problem, but believes he is on the “right path” to overcoming the issue.

“I think all the bad things I have been through are in the past,” Suarez told The Guardian. “I believe I am on the right path now, dealing with the people who can help me, the right kind of people.

“Everyone has different ways of defending themselves. In my case, the pressure and tension came out in that way.

“There are other players who react by breaking someone’s leg, or smashing someone’s nose across their face. What happened with Chiellini is seen as worse. I understand why biting is seen so badly.”

However, Suarez – who could make his first competitive Barca outing in Saturday’s much-anticipated Clasico encounter with Real Madrid – remains unrepentant over his row with Patrice Evra in October 2011, for which he was banned for eight games and fined £40,000 after being found guilty of racial abuse.

“I know I was wrong with the biting and the diving but I was accused of racism without any proof,” he added. “There were lots of cameras, but no evidence. It hurts me the most that it was my word against theirs.”

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10 2014
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Ancelotti ready to spring Clasico surprise

The Real Madrid boss has hinted he has something up his sleeve in store for Barcelona boss Luis Enrique

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti tantalisingly suggested he has a tactical surprise up his sleeve for El Clasico on Saturday.

Barcelona head to the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday at the top of La Liga with a four-point advantage over their bitter rivals Real.

The Catalan team are yet to concede a goal in domestic action this year, prompting Ancelotti to suggest he has prepared something out of the ordinary to throw Luis Enrique’s men out of their stride.

The Italian concocted a similarly off-beat move in the first Clasico of last season, when defenders Pepe and Sergio Ramos alternated in a defensive-midfield role in a side without a designated central striker, which did not have the desired effect.

However, Ancelotti claims his hugely successful managerial career contains plenty of instances where unusual strategies have worked.

“I will do something that will come as a surprise,” Ancelotti told his pre-match press conference on Friday.

“This is something I like doing. I did it last year and it didn’t work but I have done it many other times and I succeed. 

“I have many thoughts as I am focused on the match but I also want to surprise people with the starting XI.”

Ancelotti was at pains to point out that he meant no disrespect to opposite number Luis Enrique with a jibe about the early Champions League substitutions of Barca and Real stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in midweek.

Comfortable positions against Ajax and Liverpool respectively meant Luis Enrique and Ancelotti were able to protect their prized assets, although when discussing the move, the Real boss referred to an incident in Barca’s win over Eibar last weekend when Messi reportedly rejected a request to come off.

“No, absolutely not. I didn’t mean to provoke Luis Enrique,” he added. 

“I respect him and his work a lot as I respect all my colleagues. If someone saw a provocation in there they are mistaken as that’s not what I meant whatsoever.”

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10 2014
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