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Real Madrid CF forward Cristiano Ronaldo took his UEFA Champions League tally for the season to 13 goals with two against FC Schalke 04 and he told UEFA.com that the Merengues' treble-winning ambitions were as strong as ever. Gareth Bale concurs but warns that the Spanish side must remain focused as they enter the "crunch time" of the campaign. UEFA.com rounds up the Madrid reaction from the Santiago Bernabéu.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid forward
The coach told us in his team talk earlier in the afternoon that he wanted a serious game, one where we showed personality and tried to win playing well. We tried to do that, although the game was a little strange in the first half. After the break, we switched on and improved a lot. We began to play well. We finish the night in good spirits and this game will give us confidence ahead of our [Liga] encounter with FC Barcelona on Sunday.
We have to take things step by step. We had a very good group stage, scoring a lot of goals while accumulating points. After that, we eliminated Schalke. Let's see who we get next but I see the team doing well at the moment and, one step at a time, we will try to achieve our objective of winning three competitions. We know that will be difficult but at Madrid, we have to aim high. With that attitude, anything is possible.
I always want to play. I feel good and the coach – who makes these decisions – decided it was good for me to play. Things worked out well; I scored two goals and helped my team achieve a very important win to keep our good run going. We must continue on this path. Let's see what happens in the next few games.
Jesé's [knee] injury is very bad news. He is going to be sidelined for a long time. He is a player who was helping us a lot. When he played he carried out his work very well and scored goals. That's why it's such sad news for us; it represents an important loss.
Gareth Bale, Madrid forward
It was important for us to respect tonight's rivals and not go out with the mind-set of merely seeing the tie out. We put in a good, professional performance and were delighted to get the win. We are on a very good run and are really confident at the moment. I am enjoying my football and the team is playing well. The most important thing is for the team to keep working hard.
Now is the crunch time in the season, when things are won and lost, so we need to keep our performances up and keep winning games. We will treat the weekend [Liga] encounter against Barcelona as another match. We will prepare the right way and hopefully get the right result. We know they are close rivals but we want to win the three points on offer.
Casemiro, Madrid midfielder
We played a good game tonight. We have to continue fighting in order to end the campaign as champions. We have been through a lot and have learned. We now have a lot more experience and are looking to win a title. Cristiano [Ronaldo] is the best player in the world; he is really something to see and is an example for the younger players. We hope that Jesé will recover as soon as possible and be back playing with us soon.
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