Real Madrid CF forward Cristiano Ronaldo feels Saturday's 2-1 victory at FC Barcelona can help to fuel the Merengues' attempt to overturn their UEFA Champions League semi-final deficit against FC Bayern München on Wednesday.
Ronaldo, the Liga's top scorer with a record 42 goals, struck his side's 73rd-minute winner at the Camp Nou shortly after substitute Alexis Sánchez had cancelled out Sami Khedira's first-half opener. The triumph was Madrid's first at the home of their rivals in seven attempts and gives José Mourinho's team a seven-point cushion atop the standings with just four games remaining. Despite that advantage, however, Ronaldo is taking nothing for granted.
"There are still four games to go and although our advantage leaves us in a comfortable position, we must realise that the coming Liga encounters are just as important as this one was," he said. "I have now scored on my last three visits [to the Camp Nou] and my goal tonight was an important one, but the crucial thing was that we won. Our team put on a great exhibition here and I would like to congratulate everyone involved because they deserved this win."
Saturday's victory also saw Madrid's Liga goal tally for the season rise to a new Spanish top-flight best of 109. Ronaldo believes the nine-time European champions' domestic form will generate confidence ahead of the UEFA Champions League return against a Bayern side currently 2-1 to the good.
"This has been a spectacular season for us so far and we have to continue on Wednesday," the Portuguese international said. "Bayern have a great team, but we will have the advantage of playing in front of our own supporters and our morale is high. We will need the fans inside the Santiago Bernabéu to be our most important player on the night and, working together, we can get the win."
After witnessing his team's first home defeat in 55 matches, Barça coach Josep Guardiola was also quick to turn his thoughts to European matters and a second-leg meeting at home to Chelsea FC, who won the opener 1-0 in London.
"A competition in which we fought a lot has slipped away," the 41-year-old said of the Blaugrana's Liga challenge. "We can't hope to always be at the same level, but it's just a pity that in the key moment we failed. There are few things I can reproach my team for. We are already focusing on Chelsea. We're eager to recover and to get ready for Tuesday's game as soon as possible."
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|Last updated: 24/04/2012 12:09 CET|
Dídac Vilà 19
|Venue: San Sebastian|
|Sporting Gijón||2-1||Rayo Vallecano|
|Venue: Palma de Mallorca|
|1||Real Madrid CF||34||88|
|7||Club Atlético de Madrid||34||48|
|13||Real Betis Balompié||34||42|
|14||Real Sociedad de Fútbol||34||40|
|15||Rayo Vallecano de Madrid||34||40|
|19||Real Sporting de Gijón||34||31|
|20||Real Racing Club||34||26|