The Ballon d’Or holder has been struggling for form and consistency in 2015 but his coach was encouraged by his outing against Deportivo
Cristiano Ronaldo has been struggling for goals in recent Real Madrid matches but Carlo Ancelotti is backing his forward to return to his best in their Champions League clash with Schalke on Wednesday.
The Portugal international was crowned the best player in football by Fifa last month, winning the prestigious Ballon d’Or, but he has gone three games in a row without scoring – his last goal for the Blancos coming on January 18.
Much of the pre-match talk has been on the form of Ronaldo, with Schalke boss Roberto Di Matteo acknowledging Madrid’s main threat has looked out of sorts, but Ancelotti has faith that the forward will get on the scoresheet at the Veltins Arena this week.
“Ronaldo was good in the last game against Deportivo La Coruna,” the Italian coach told reporters when asked about Ronaldo, who missed two games recently through suspension.
“He had good intensity in the last match. He’s getting better, he just lacks goals. I believe that tomorrow against Schalke is a good opportunity to amend this.”
Prior to defeating Deportivo, Real Madrid had suffered a shock thrashing at the hands of rivals Atletico in La Liga, and Ancelotti is eager to put that result behind them with a strong showing on Wednesday.
“This week is very important because, after having a result like we had against Atletico, if you don’t have a fast reaction then it can affect you for the season,” he continued.
“It’s a great motivation to retain the trophy in the Champions League. We played Schalke last year with the dream of winning the Decima.
“This year we have the same aspirations. History says retaining this title is very difficult – almost impossible – but we will try.
“We have to enjoy this game and this round. We need to show intensity and have motivation. I’m confident because the team had a solid game on Sunday; we should do even better tomorrow.”
Real Madrid’s clash with Schalke kicks off at 20:45CET, with the return leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday March 10.