Ronaldo says best is yet to come

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The Independent Football

Cristiano Ronaldo took his tally to three goals in four days with his Champions League brace against Marseille before ominously admitting he still was not back to full fitness following injury.

Ronaldo spent around two months on the sidelines after suffering an ankle injury during the first meeting with Marseille back in September, but he has now featured in Madrid's last four games against FC Zurich, Barcelona, Almeria and, last night, Marseille.

In the first two matches Ronaldo was not risked for the full 90 minutes by Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini, but against Almeria and Marseille the world's most expensive player might well have completed both games but for his 85th-minute dismissal against the former.

And in those two matches Ronaldo showed why he is such an important player for Madrid, creating one and scoring one in the 4-2 win over Almeria and then netting twice in last night's 3-1 victory over Marseille that secured his side top spot in Group C.

Those strikes took Ronaldo's tally to six in just four Champions League games for Madrid, and to 12 in only 11 competitive appearances for his new club this season.

And, worryingly for opposing defenders, the Portugal international insists he is still getting back to his best.

"I'm still not 100%, I can still give more. Little by little I'm improving. I've been out for a long time, but all the time I feel better. I need to continue as I have been doing," he said.

Ronaldo opened the scoring at the Stade Velodrome with a stunning 30-yard free-kick after just five minutes and he then wrapped up the win 10 minutes from time after Raul Albiol's 60th-minute strike had put the Spaniards back in front. Lucho had netted an early leveller for the hosts.

The win ensured Madrid would finish top of Group C above AC Milan, and means they will avoid the likes of Ronaldo's former club Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in the last 16.

"It was a good game. I want to congratulate my team because they've played very well, especially in the second half where we've been calmer. I'm happy to have scored two goals and for having been able to help the team pass through to the last 16," added Ronaldo.

The £80million man will have to wait a while for his next chance to impress though, as he is suspended for this weekend's testing Primera Division trip to third-placed Valencia.

However, Ronaldo, who picked up two needless bookings late on against Almeria for taking off his shirt and then kicking an opponent, is confident Madrid can succeed without him at the Mestalla.

"I didn't want to be sent off against Almeria, I'm human and I've already said sorry. In any case, I'm confident that my team-mates will do very well in Valencia," he said.