Christiano Ronaldo channeled his frustrations after a three-game suspension, and his anger has all but assured that Real Madrid will be on to the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
The Madrid star had been suspended for three games after a scuffle with Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Iturraspe on February 2, but returned in time for a UEFA Champions League match Wednesday against Schalke.
Ronaldo scored two goals in a 6-1 blowout win, handing Madrid only its second win in 25 trips to Germany. The win gives Madrid an all-but-given path to the Champions League quarterfinals.
Wednesday’s match was never in doubt, and it’s largely thanks to Ronaldo. Before the game, Los Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti said that the 2013 Ballon d’Or winner was “highly motivated” after watching his teammates rout their way to the La Liga summit.
“He’s really wanted to play, he was not happy about not being able to do so,” Ancelotti said. “He’s done very well in training. He is in optimal physical and mental shape.”
Ronaldo said he was frustrated with the ban, believing his actions didn’t warrant being sidelines for three games.
“What’s happened has happened,” he said. “I was frustrated, because I didn’t deserve a three-match ban.”
Christiano Ronaldo dominated the ball in Wednesday’s game, scoring in the 52nd minute and 89th minute. Teammates Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema each added two goals themselves.
After the game, he gave credit to his teammates for their strong play.
“I think that the team has played good matches this season, and this is another,” Ronaldo said. “Schalke weren’t at their best. We’re happy, because we’re close to the next round.”
Ronaldo added: “The whole team played well: from Iker [Casillas] to the midfielders to the defenders, everyone did their job. We’re very happy with ourselves, because we played very well. The [Schalke] goalkeeper did well. But my team-mates help me and in the second half I was able to score two goals.”
Real Madrid is now off to face Atletico on Sunday, and Christiano Ronaldo is looking to focus his frustrations forward, saying: “We’re motivated; that’s the main word. We’re Madrid, and we’ll try to win at the Calderón.”