Cristiano Ronaldo News

Friday, December 08, 2006

Interview after the Benfica game

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Ronaldo ready for Europe's elite
Thu 07 Dec, 4:30 PM

Cristiano Ronaldo insists he does not care who Manchester United are paired with in the Champions League knockout phase.Victory over Benfica at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, coupled with Celtic's defeat in Copenhagen, meant Sir Alex Ferguson's side advanced into next Friday's last-16 draw as Group F winners.

With Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid among seven potential opponents, plus Serie A leaders Inter Milan, it is debatable just how important finishing top of the four-team section actually was.

However, after missing out on qualification altogether last season, Ronaldo believes United's position at the head of affairs has provided an added sense of self-belief within the United camp.

And, while the prospect of facing Lille is infinitely more enticing than tackling Barcelona, Ronaldo is adamant he would be happy to take on anyone.

"I don't care who we get," said the 21-year-old. "Once you get to the second round, the competition is full of strong teams.

"It is important to play, and do well, against the big clubs but I enjoy playing against anyone."

After featuring in a European Championship final and a World Cup semi-final for Portugal, Ronaldo is determined to reach the latter stages of major tournaments at club level too.

So far, his United career has produced only one FA Cup winners' medal, plus a Carling Cup gong from the victory over Wigan last season.

This year promises to be different though, with United blazing a trail at the Premiership summit and now having put the misery of last year's group-stage exit firmly behind them.

"This is a big club, an amazing club, we should reach the second round of the Champions League every year," said Ronaldo.

"What happened last season was pretty bad, so we are all very happy we have qualified.

"It was important for us to finish top of the group and it was fair because we were the best team in it. Now we wait for the draw.

"You never know what happens in football, and the next round is a long way off, but I really believe we have a great chance of doing well this season."



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