Cristiano Ronaldo record: Striker focused on Real Madrid, not Champions League record, insists Carlo Ancelotti ahead of Liverpool game

The Portuguese striker is one goal away from equalling Raul's tally of 71 European goals

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The Independent Online

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti insists Cristiano Ronaldo is fully focused on the team's requirements and not writing his name into the Champions League history books.

The Portugal international is one goal away from equalling the great Raul's tally of 71 in Europe's elite competition.

If Tuesday's opponents Liverpool display any of the defensive vulnerability they have shown this season, there is every chance the 29-year-old - who scored at Anfield in the meeting a fortnight ago - could surpass that feat at the Bernabeu.

Even the return of fellow forward Gareth Bale after a five-match injury absence is unlikely to take any of the spotlight away from Ronaldo but Ancelotti is not concerned by talk of landmark moments.

"Cristiano is working hard for himself and the side, just like other players," said the coach of the defending champions.

"I don't think he's thinking about the record, he has time - it's not his last game. He is focused on playing for the team."

Bale's comeback gives Liverpool, who were comfortably beaten by three first-half goals at Anfield, an even greater headache.

"Gareth Bale is ready to play and is back from injury. I don't know if he will play from the off or on the bench," added Ancelotti.

While Real have no problems up front - they won 4-0 against Granada at the weekend to take their tally to 37 in 10 matches in the Primera Division - the Reds have been woefully lacking in the injury-enforced absence of last season's second-highest scorer Daniel Sturridge.

Much-maligned striker Mario Balotelli has found the net just twice since his £16million summer move from AC Milan but will be expected to shoulder the burden again at the Bernabeu.

He will hope to last longer than the 45 minutes he did in the first meeting at Anfield, when he caused an outcry among some supporters by swapping shirts with Real defender Pepe as they headed down the tunnel - from which the Italian did not emerge for the second half after manager Brendan Rodgers made a tactical change.

 

However, Ancelotti sprang to the striker's defence.

"Balotelli is spoken of a lot, maybe too much," he said.

"He has quality and is at a side where they're not playing well having lost (Luis) Suarez, who scored a lot.

"They need another solution but I don't think all of Liveprool's problems are Balotelli.

"He needs to do his work for the side, that's all that can be asked of him - and I don't have problem with shirt-changing."

PA

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