Ronaldo to 'fight on' as title goes to wire
Saturday 15 May 2010
Cristiano Ronaldo got used to winning trophies at Manchester United but tomorrow, after three consecutive League titles under Sir Alex Ferguson, he will be left empty-handed if Barcelona win their last game of the season.
"I have enjoyed my first year but maybe it will not be enough to win a trophy," said the Portugal international, ahead of what will be a dramatic final weekend in Spain with nine of the last 10 games involved in deciding the title, European places and relegation.
Scoring 26 league goals in his first season and helping Madrid to a club record 98 points will not be enough for Ronaldo if Barcelona beat Valladolid at home on the last Sunday of the season. Real Madrid need to beat Malaga away and hope that Barça slip up.
Real's keeper Iker Casillas said the squad still believed the season could throw up one more twist. "Everything could still change in the last weekend of the season. Barcelona know exactly what they are doing. We are a new team and we have had a lot of changes this season but at Madrid you are not allowed to go a season without winning something," he said.
Someone always pays for such a failure and coach Manuel Pellegrini will lose his job if there is no final-hour miracle. The last Real coach to end a complete season in charge without securing a trophy and then keep his job was Alfredo di Stefano in 1982. But he was not embarrassed in both domestic and European competition and he had not spent £250m in the previous summer.
Reflecting on his first campaign in Spain, Ronaldo, who will be reunited with Malaga full-back Patrick Mtiliga, whose nose he fractured with a swinging forearm in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, admitted that the European Cup exit to Lyons was a real low. He said: "Elimination from the Champions League was the worst moment. You always have slip-ups when you have so many new players and a new coach and we have to keep fighting. I'm sure we will win that competition again one day."
Internazionale coach Jose Mourinho could be two-thirds of the way through an unprecedented treble by the time Real Madrid and Barcelona kick off tomorrow night. Italian Cup winners Inter play Siena away on the final day of the Serie A season looking to maintain the one-point advantage they have over Roma, who travel to Chievo.
Both games start at 2pm and Mourinho has midfielder Wesley Sneijder back in contention, although he may yet leave him on the bench with one eye on next weekend's Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
Leonardo agreed to leave Inter's neighbours Milan by mutual consent yesterday after just one year in the managerial hot seat. "I didn't know what it was to be a coach," Leonardo said. "It was a great experience, but I don't know if I will do it again in the future, definitely not in the next few years."
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