Ronaldo fires Barca warning
Cristiano Ronaldo has sent a warning to Barcelona that Real Madrid are in confident mood after their latest win.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 25/11/09 11:30pm
Cristiano Ronaldo has sent a warning to Barcelona that Real Madrid are in confident mood after beating FC Zurich on Wednesday.
Ronaldo made his eagerly anticipated return from injury with 20 minutes remaining as Real closed on a place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with a 1-0 over the Swiss champions to top Group C.
The world's most expensive player had been missing for the Spanish giants since 30th September with an ankle injury, but insists he is ready and raring to go for his first 'El Clasico' clash against Real's arch-rivals Barca on Sunday.
"It's good to be back, 55 days after my injury," Ronaldo told Sky Sports. "It was very disappointing, but this is football.
"My motivation is high and I want to be back again and as strong as I was before."
Real currently occupy the summit of La Liga and Ronaldo claims his team-mates are desperate to remain top after the Camp Nou fixture.
"We are top of the league and if we win we have a four-point gap," he added. "It's going to be interesting. We are confident at the moment."
Ronaldo's second-half appearance failed to inspire Real to more goals in their win over Zurich, but the Spanish capital club can thank Gonzalo Higuain for their midweek success as his 21st minute goal proved the difference in the Santiago Bernabeu tie.
Manuel Pellegrini's side need only a point in their final group match - an away trip to Marseille - to assure qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League and Higuain was delighted with the role he played in Wednesday's win.
"I am scoring some goals which is nice but the most important thing is we are winning," said the 21-year-old Argentine.
"This win boosts our chances of qualifying for the next phase of the Champions League and also gives us confidence for the Barcelona game at the weekend."
Real centre-back Pepe had words to add about Ronaldo's return, claiming the former Manchester United forward provides a crucial boost ahead of the all-important weekend showdown with Barca.
"It is good to see Cristiano back as he is very important for us and could help us win (against Barcelona) on Sunday," he said. "It is a big game for us and we will be very motivated to try and win there."