Ronaldo: I want three more Ballon d’Or awards but would be happy if I retired now

The Real Madrid star remains at the pinnacle of the world game and has achieved everything he wants, but he is sure he can keep going for a bit longer

Cristiano Ronaldo says he has achieved all of his dreams in football, but would like to win the Ballon d’Or another three times before he retires.

The Real Madrid star was named the best player on the planet for the fifth time in 2017, pulling level with Barcelona rival Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo already has four Champions League and Club World Cup trophies to add to his Premier League and La Liga winners’ medals accrued in his sensational periods at Manchester United and Madrid.

And while the 32-year-old feels he would be perfectly happy in life if he were to retire from the game immediately, he believes he can still achieve a great deal more before he does call time on his career.

“I never dreamed of winning the Ballon d’Or five times,” he told Desimpedidos. “If I had to finish my career now, I would be super happy… [but] if I won another Ballon d’Or, two or three more times I’d be delighted with life.

“Even if I don’t win, I’ve already won five… but I still have the confidence and the strength to compete for the prize… it depends on the titles we win this year.

“Everything I dreamed of, I achieved.”

After guiding his national team to Euro 2016 glory last season, Ronaldo is preparing to lead out Portugal in their World Cup campaign in Russia this summer.

Although he feels his side are not looked upon as favourites to win the title, Ronaldo still has hope heading into the tournament.

“We are not the favourites, we have to be honest,” he added.

“There are teams with more names, like Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina… but in football everything is possible.

“We are going to try to advance from the group stage, then we’ll see. The main objective is the first phase.”


Barcelona even stronger now without Neymar, says Ter Stegen

The German goalkeeper has hailed the signings of Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele but also had words of praise for the PSG forward

Neymar’s €222 million move to Paris Saint-Germain has only served to make Barcelona stronger this season, says goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The departure came at a time of perceived institutional crisis at Barca, with fan anger at the running of the club compounded by a thrashing to Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana.

However, Ernesto Valverde has led a serene march towards La Liga glory this season, and Barca are unbeaten after 24 league games – a run stretching back a club-record 31 league contests – with a healthy lead over Atletico Madrid in second.

Though Barca’s fabled ‘MSN’ strikeforce of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar has been broken up, Ter Stegen believes the squad as a whole has stepped up after the latter left, inspiring their success this term.

“The quality of Ney, you can’t explain it,” Ter Stegen told ESPN . “Because he was super important for us, as a person [and] in the team, as a footballer.

“Now, everyone needs to understand what he did because maybe he wants to win something else, also personally.

“His decision only he knows but in the end we had to compensate all this and this is not easy because he had so much quality, but we did it in a different way and now we have a very, very strong team.

“I think we’ve got some new players who have made us even stronger and hopefully they feel good and comfortable in the team and they adapt very fast.”

Two of the players drafted in to compensate for the loss of Neymar are Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho.

The pair joined in deals that could be worth over €300m, but Ter Stegen says both deserve time to show they can fill the Brazil star’s boots.

“Dembele didn’t play very often because he was injured [and] Coutinho just came,” Ter Stegen said.

“We always need to give them time and be patient because they are young and they have some great years ahead.”

Barca travel to Chelsea on Tuesday for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. Valverde has named the strongest squad possible, with only the suspended Nelson Semedo and ineligible Coutinho missing.


Ronaldo v Neymar? It’s Real Madrid v PSG! – Zidane

The two superstars may be dominating the headlines but the French manager is insistent that the collectives should be focused upon

Zinedine Zidane has played down the ‘Ronaldo v Neymar’ billing being given to the Champions League clash between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, insisting the tie will be more than just an individual battle.

An encounter between the world’s most expensive player and the world’s best adds an extra layer of intrigue to what is already a mouth-watering match on paper.

Rumours linking former Barcelona star Neymar with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu only serve to increase the anticipation ahead of the tie, which begins with the first leg in the Spanish capital on Wednesday.

But Madrid coach Zidane is reluctant join in with that excitement, instead stressing the importance of the team effort, and not just those marquee players.

“We talk about two great players but tomorrow it’s Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain, not Neymar v Cristiano,” he told a news conference.

“We can talk about a player like Cristiano, who has done amazing things in the game and won five Ballons d’Or, but everyone can see Neymar’s quality on the pitch.

“He’s a quality player but we don’t want to see a duel between Cristiano and Neymar, we want to see Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain.”

Zidane has come under pressure during a disappointing domestic campaign for Madrid, which sees them sit 17 points adrift of LaLiga leaders Barcelona having been knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Leganes in the quarter-finals.

But the former France international, whose future will be in serious doubt if Madrid cannot overcome PSG, rejected claims this week’s clash had the feel of a final.

“All the games are important for me and the future doesn’t bother me too much at the moment,” he added.

“It’s not a final for me. It’s a Champions League match.

“We’ve got two legs and what we have to do is go out and play well. The rest I’m not too worried about.

“We’ve got no pressure. We’re happy to play these games.

“People want to see a good game and you’d have to ask PSG if they’re feeling any pressure.”


Neymar has a huge heart and is anything but arrogant, says Trapp

The goalkeeper refuted claims that the Brazil international has a big ego, insisting he is helpful and dedicated to the team

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar is “anything but arrogant” and only wants to be successful, according to team-mate Kevin Trapp.

The Brazil international has produced some sensational displays since his world-record €222 million move from Barcelona last August, with his winner in Saturday’s Ligue 1 game against Toulouse taking him to 19 goals in 18 top-flight matches this term.

The 26-year-old has been criticised at times for behaviour on the pitch, though, most recently in the 3-2 Coupe de la Ligue win over Rennes, when he jokingly refused to help an opponent to his feet and was later accused of showboating by some observers.

PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot also revealed this week that Neymar and Kylian Mbappe enjoy certain “privileges” at the club, although he said there was no jealousy in the dressing room.

And Trapp insists Neymar has adapted well to life at Parc des Princes and is far from the cavalier performer some consider him to be.

“He has a huge heart,” he told Bild. “He is incredibly nice and helpful. He’s anything but arrogant and is totally integrated into the team.

“He’s just a leader who wants to win.”

Trapp’s own future at PSG has come under scrutiny this season, with Alphonse Areola preferred in goal in league and Champions League matches.

The Germany international has been linked with a return to the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund, who were said to be looking for a new goalkeeper in the January transfer window due to concerns about the form of Roman Burki.

Trapp admits he could be tempted to return to his homeland but says his focus for now is on PSG’s trophy charge.

“Quite a lot is possible,” he said. “I’m from Germany; obviously the Bundesliga is interesting for me. Dortmund are a big club.

“But the transfer window has just closed. It’s not an issue now. I want to focus on my tasks here.”


Ronaldo and Real Madrid power up in time for PSG and the Champions League

The Portuguese hit a hat-trick for Los Blancos in an excellent 5-2 win over Real Sociedad, a timely return to form ahead of Wednesday’s European exam

“Thank you fans. On Wednesday night, the king of Europe is back.” That was the message from the stadium announcer on the loudspeaker after Real Madrid thrashed Real Sociedad 5-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday evening. Reason to believe again, perhaps, for those supporters.

Real Madrid are a different beast in the European Cup and so too is Cristiano Ronaldo. Los Blancos have won the continental competition 12 times in their history and the Portuguese has played his part in the last three.

Last season, Ronaldo was struggling for goals in the Champions League, but hit 10 from the quarter-finals onwards, including two in the final against Juventus, as Madrid claimed La Duodécima in Cardiff.

This term, it is in La Liga where the Portuguese has not been himself, netting only four times in the first 18 games. However, he has rediscovered his form recently and hit a hat-trick on Saturday to make it seven in the second part of the competition already – more than any other player.

“He’s extra motivated this season,” coach Zinedine Zidane said of Ronaldo in Friday’s pre-match press conference. “He wants to show what he is capable of. I’m not concerned, I’m not worried. He is an outstanding footballer.”

And he added: “There have been some times this season when he hasn’t been able to get on the scoresheet but he is there when needed. On the big stage, he performs.”

That much is true and Ronaldo is of course the all-time top scorer in the Champions League, as well as the leading marksman in the continental competition so far this season.

Madrid came through their Champions League group in second place after losing to Tottenham and were handed a tough last-16 draw against in-form French side Paris Saint-Germain. The first leg takes place at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night, with the return at the Parc des Princes on March 6.

While PSG will be desperate to prove themselves in Europe after last season’s second-leg collapse against Barcelona in the last 16, Real Madrid will be playing for their season in this tie.

Los Blancos’ win on Saturday sees them move into third place in La Liga ahead of Valencia’s game against Levante on Sunday, but the defending champions are 16 points behind league leaders Barcelona (in action at home to Getafe on Sunday) and already out of the race.

Zidane’s side, winners of five trophies in an impressive 2017, are also out of the Copa del Rey following a disastrous defeat at home to Leganes in the quarter-finals in January, so the Champions League assumes even greater importance this time around.

PSG, meanwhile, lead Ligue 1 by 12 points from last season’s champions Monaco after beating Toulouse 1-0 away from home on Saturday and Unai Emery’s side have scored an impressive 126 goals in all competitions this term.

Real Madrid handed Champions League blow as Carvajal forced to miss PSG clash

Zinedine Zidane suffered a blow in his preparations for Real’s showdown with the Ligue 1 leaders after UEFA upheldthe defender’s ban

Real Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal will miss the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain after UEFA upheld his two-game suspension.

In December, European football’s governing body suspended the Spain international for two matches – one for collecting a second booking of the Champions League group stages and a second after ruling Carvajal collected that caution against APOEL deliberately to serve his suspension in a dead rubber against Borussia Dortmund.

A statement issued by UEFA read: “The UEFA Appeals Body met on 1 February following an appeal lodged by Real Madrid CF against the decision announced by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) on December 7, which ordered

Real Madrid player Dani Carvajal to be suspended for two UEFA competition matches for which he would be otherwise eligible.

“The appeal lodged by Real Madrid has been dismissed and the UEFA CEDB’s decision of December 7 is confirmed.

“Given that Carvajal did not participate in the match between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund played on December 6 2017, the player still has to serve one UEFA competition match for which he would be otherwise eligible.”

The ruling represents a significant selectorial blow for Zinedine Zidane, who is chasing his third consecutive European title as Madrid boss but with the added pressure of a disappointing domestic campaign leaving the Champions League as his only realistic remaining prospect of major honours this season.

Madrid host PSG at the Santiago Bernabeu on February 14 and travel to the Parc des Princes for the return on March 6.


Ronaldo backed by Ancelotti to lead Real Madrid’s challenge for Champions League three-peat

Zinedine Zidane’s struggling Blancos have endured a humbling domestic campaign, but they remain in the hunt for a third successive European crown

Cristiano Ronaldo’s all-encompassing desire to win can help Real Madrid to a third successive Champions League crown, says Carlo Ancelotti.

The Blancos find themselves in an unfortunate position which sees European glory providing the only path to major silverware this season.

A humbling domestic campaign has seen the defending La Liga champions slip 19 points off the pace in the 2017-18 title race, while also exiting the Copa del Rey at the hands of giant-killing Leganes.

Another continental crown does, however, remain up for grabs and Ancelotti believes that a forgettable season for Real and star turns such as Ronaldo can be salvaged by securing a fourth success in the space of five dominant years.

The man who helped Madrid to La Decima in 2014 told Corriere dello Sport: “[Real Madrid] reacted well against Valencia.

“I don’t think they are in crisis. The only competition that Real Madrid can now win is the Champions League, so they will focus on that.

“We must be aware of what [Zinedine] Zidane does in the Champions League.

“If they beat [Unai] Emery [and PSG], it will be difficult to stop them because they have a player in their squad who never wants to lose: Cristiano Ronaldo.”

Ronaldo has managed just eight La Liga goals this season as Real have slipped into a top-four tussle, but he has contributed nine goals in six Champions League outings.

He will be the man Zidane looks to for inspiration once again when European action resumes at the last-16 stage.

In order for the Blancos to remain in contention for another continental triumph, they will first have to negotiate a testing two-legged tie with Ligue 1 heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain.

While Ancelotti believes they are capable of doing that, he has also acknowledged the strength of another of his former clubs who have spent big in the pursuit of major honours.

The Italian added: “PSG have everything to win the Champions League.

“They have Neymar and [Kylian] Mbappe.

“They have more experience and quality than they had last year. They are more mature and dangerous.”

PSG fell at the last-16 stage last season, in a thrilling contest with Barcelona, and have failed to make it beyond the quarter-finals since rejoining the European elite in 2012-13. 


Real Madrid are prepared to make Neymar the highest-paid player on the planet if they can sign him from Paris Saint-Germain, according to Don Balon.

Los Blancos would need to part with a fee of €300 million to get PSG to part with the former Barcelona star and then hand him a salary approaching €50m per season.

That could set up a conflict with Cristiano Ronaldo who makes €25m per season and wants a new contract.



The Uruguay international nodded in his 156th goal for the Parisian club, putting him level with the Swedish star

Edinson Cavani has equalled Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s record of 156 goals for Paris Saint-Germain in all competitions.

The Uruguay international headed in an Angel Di Maria cross during the first half of PSG’s Ligue 1 tie against Dijon on Wednesday evening, giving Unai Emery’s side a 3-0 lead following an early Di Maria double. Neymar stole the show from that point on, scoring four goals as PSG rolled to an 8-0 triumph, with Kylian Mbappe also on the scoresheet.

Cavani’s strike moved him further into the lead in the goalscoring rankings in the French top flight, taking him to the 20-goal mark — four more than his closest rival for the accolade, Monaco’s Radamel Falcao.

Cavani and Ibrahimovic head a list of iconic figures in PSG’s all-time scoring charts, with former Portugal international Pauleta behind the pair with 109 goals.

The only other player to have hit the 100-mark for the capital club is Dominique Rocheteau, the former France winger who enjoyed a prolific seven-season spell with the club during the 1980s.

Ibrahimovic and Cavani are also tied for the most goals scored in a single match, the former hitting four goals against both Anderlecht in 2013 and Troyes in 2016, with the latter matching the feat during a Ligue 1 tie with Caen in September 2016.