Ronaldo told to ignore jeers and focus on title

Euro Zone

Cristiano Ronaldo has been told to concentrate on overturning Barcelona's three-point lead at the top of La Liga and forget about the abuse he is receiving at every away ground in Spain.

Real Madrid's director-general Jorge Valdano said: "Cristiano should control himself. We have no control over how the spectators behave so we have to ask it of him."

Ronaldo gestured to Almeria supporters who had verbally abused him throughout Real's 2-1 win away there in midweek. His team-mate Marcelo said the abuse went beyond the normal level suffered by other Madrid players but told Ronaldo: "It's not very nice but it will probably always be this way."

Madrid face Valencia tomorrow hoping that Barcelona slip up in the Catalan derby against Espanyol today. Barça have one eye on next week's Champions League game and coach Pep Guardiola is contemplating leaving Leo Messi on the bench for what looks to be the most difficult of his side's remaining six league games.

Derby day is the decider, says Roma's Ranieri

Conquer Rome and the Scudetto will be yours. That is the message Claudio Ranieri has given his players ahead of derby day in the Italian capital. Lazio are out to become the first side to take three points off the new leaders of Serie A since last October and derail their charge to the title. If Roma come out on top tomorrow they will move a massive step closer to taking over the title from Jose Mourinho's second-placed Internazionale. "We have to be like a hammer and keep banging down on that nail," said Ranieri who just needs the run of 23 games without defeat to stretch for five more matches. Roma go into the match after five straight wins but Lazio's form is also good – they have not lost in five.


Gerard Houllier is being tipped for a return to club management at the German side Wolfsburg. The former Liverpool manager is currently employed by the French Football Federation but is on a shortlist of two to revive the fortunes of last year's Bundesliga winners, who are set to surrender their title with barely a whimper. The former Spurs coach Martin Jol, currently at Ajax, is the other manager in the running.

Bayern Munich are in pole position to recapture the German title but Arjen Robben has warned Franck Ribéry that he needs to stay focused on the run-in and not on his imminent move away from the Allianz Arena. He said: "The most important thing is that we win the title now with Franck in the team. Perhaps it is better to talk at the end of the season about his future. Franck is going to be an important player for the next few weeks." Bayern play Hannover 96 tonight.

Bordeaux's dream of retaining the French title could be written off once and for all this weekend when they face the side that dumped them out of the Champions League. Laurent Blanc's team face Lyons knowing a fourth straight defeat would leave them too much to do in the last five games. They go into the game with Claude Puel's side nine points away from leaders Marseilles, who now look title favourites. Marseilles play at Boulogne with second-placed Auxerre home to Lorient.

McClaren looking for home comfort in Dutch run-in

Steve McClaren's FC Twente host Feyenoord and Ajax entertain Heracles in tomorrow's penultimate round of matches in the Dutch Eredivisie. The former England manager's team retain a one-point lead over Jol's second-placed Ajax.

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