Ronaldo can cope says Pellegrini

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The Independent Online

Real Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini has dismissed suggestions that Cristiano Ronaldo is struggling to cope with the pressure of being the world's most expensive footballer.

The £80 million signing from Manchester United started Saturday's 3-0 victory over Espanyol on the substitute's bench before scoring in the second half.

"I don't think Ronaldo has a weight on his shoulders," said Pellegrini.

"I think that people are looking at him through a magnifying glass.

"The player is adapting to the league and to the team. I don't think he has any problems and he looks calm to me."

Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola insists agreeing a new contract is 'not a priority'.

Guardiola is halfway through a two-year contract after leading Barca to an unprecedented treble of Spanish League, Champions League and Copa del Rey in his debut season.

But despite having only months remaining on his existing deal, the rookie coach prefers to focus on other matters.

"I have a year left on my contract and a lot of work left to do. My renewal is not a priority," he insisted.

"The day I feel like doing it I will do and it will be done as quickly and discreetly as possible."

Guardiola is believed to be keen to see the outcome of the club's presidential elections in February before putting pen to paper.

Meanwhile, Barca captain Carles Puyol has been urged to end the uncertainty over his own future and sign a new contract at the Camp Nou.

Puyol's current deal expires at the end of the season and sporting director Txiki Begiristain has delivered a warning to the Catalan-born skipper.

Weekend reports have suggested that Puyol is demanding assurances over his role in the team going forward.

"Puyol must decide his own future at Barcelona," said Begiristain.

"Gradually playing less doesn't seem to convince the captain."

Elsewhere, Villarreal have confirmed that Marcos Senna is facing up to a month on the sidelines with a leg injury.

The 33-year-old midfielder made his comeback from a thigh muscle problem which dogged him towards the end of last season in the first game of the new campaign.

He then joined up with the Spain squad for the recent World Cup qualifiers but has returned to Villarreal carrying a fresh problem.

A club statement has revealed that the key midfielder is likely to be sidelined for 'two to three weeks'.

"This is the worst news," lamented coach Ernesto Valverde. "It's a problem for us because we have seven games in 22 days and we need every player at 100 per cent."