May 27, 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo’s driving force as he prepares for Manchester United’s Champions League final against Barcelona tonight is the prospect of making history.

United will become the first club to retain the trophy in the 17-year lifetime of the competition if they defeat the Spanish champions in the Stadio Olimpico.

And Ronaldo, who admits his affection for Spanish football, claims that means much more to him than winning the world footballer of the year trophy last season when he beat Barcelona’s Lionel Messi into second place.

Ronaldo said: “I like the Spanish league. I feel well in England in the Premier League, it is the strongest league. Barcelona have a great team which deserves respect but I believe we are better than them and we will show it.

“I respect Barcelona profoundly. Messi is playing marvellously well. I want to be sincere. I have to play well tomorrow for the team and the supporters. I look forward to it and I think it will be really special.

“I don’t care about the Ballon D’or. What I want more is to win the Champions League. That’s it.

“I just want to be the first team in history to win it twice.”

Ronaldo has dismissed any fears about playing in white, like the Real Madrid side who were annihilated 6-2 by Barcelona recently.

He also insisted he is happy to carry the burden of the spotlight which constantly surrounds him.

“It’s normal that people speak about me but I am 100% focused on this game,” he said.

“I try to help my team 100%, score a goal and win the game. That’s it.”

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson also gave an insight into what makes Ronaldo United’s most potent threat and why he constantly conjures up feats such as the 41-yard free-kick screamer which broke Arsenal hearts in the semi-final second leg at the Emirates.

Ferguson said: “There’s no mystery. He’s always out there after the team training has finished, practising his shots. The great players don’t rely on their natural ability, they practice to make sure they have that something extra.

“In the semi-final against Arsenal I could tell he was going to hit it, from the body shape, even though it was so far out.”


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