Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Ronaldo and Kaka, who cost Real Madridover 150 million euros, aim to lead the Spanish giants to a 10th European title this season, with their campaign starting in the humble surroundings of FC Zurich on Tuesday.
Ronaldo, the world’s most expensive player, insists the historic winning mentality at the club will be key to driving them to a place in the Champions League final which will be staged at their Santiago Bernabeu home in May next year.
“This is a club used to winning, a lot of the players here are winners, but now it’s about a new team and a new squad,” said Ronaldo, keen to dismiss comparisons with the Galactico era.
“That’s why we have to create the right mentality for us to win the league, the Champions League and the cups. This is a club obsessed with winning and now the players here have to think the same way.”
Real’s last Champions League triumph came in 2002 and with bitter rivals Barcelona taking the title last season, the club’s ambition has been sharpened further.
Last season Real Madrid were beaten 5-0 on aggregate by Liverpool in the first knockout round. It was the fifth successive season they had lost out in the last 16.
“The ambition is to win the Champions League,” said Kaka.
“On top of that, you have the possibility of us being at home (in the final) and it would be fantastic to play the final at the Bernabeu.”
Real and FC Zurich have met once before in the competition but that was 45 years ago with the Spaniards winning 8-1 over two legs in the semi-final before losing to Inter Milan 3-1 in the final.
Defender Raul Albiol is a doubt for Real having twisted his ankle against Espanyol at the weekend while Pepe could make his first appearance this season.
The Portuguese centre-back is suspended for two more games in the Spanish league - as part of a 10-match ban imposed last season for violent conduct - but is eligible to play in Europe.
Zurich reached this stage with a play-off defeat of FK Ventspils with Johan Vonlanthen, Silvan Aegerter and Dusan Djuric securing a 3-0 win in Latvia before second-leg strikes from Vonlanthen and Almen Abdi completed a 5-1 aggregate victory.