Ronaldo slept through World Cup draw
Cristiano Ronaldo says Portugal were handed a difficult World Cup draw last Friday, but he is confident of making the knockout stages at the very least in Brazil.
• Horncastle: Group G preview and prediction
Friday’s draw saw Paulo Bento’s side drawn in a very tough looking Group G, alongside many people’s tournament picks Germany as well as Ghana and the USA -- the only group containing four teams who made the knockout stages in 2010.
The Portugal captain, speaking alongside clubmates Marcelo, Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Angel Di Maria and Iker Casillas on Sunday as Real Madrid showcased their impressive international contingent, said he had not watched the draw live but was aware of the tough challenge his country faced in making it even to the last 16 next summer.
"To be honest, I did not see it live," Ronaldo said. "I was asleep. It is a very difficult group with Germany, who are always one of the favourites, and the USA and Ghana, who are very good teams too. Qualifying for the second round is obviously the priority and we will see what happens. We can definitely qualify from that group, but confidence and concentration are always important. It depends on us as a team. I hope that Portugal can go as far as possible."
Ronaldo’s incredible hat trick in the World Cup playoff second leg victory against Sweden secured Portugal's place in Brazil , but he said he did not feel any particular extra pressure as his country’s leader.
"My objective is always the same," he said. "To try to do my best and help my country. On a personal level, I will obviously try to play to the best of my ability, score goals and give my all. I always ask a lot of myself because I know my potential. I will give it my best shot."
The 28-year-old said he had not asked Spain's 2010 skipper Casillas about what it was like to lift the World Cup trophy, but assumed it would be an even better experience than when he won the Champions League with Manchester United in 2008.
"I do not need him to tell me," Ronaldo said. "I am intelligent, I know what it means to lift something important. At club level, I know how great it feels to lift the Champions League trophy and I suppose that in the World Cup that must be even better, something that you never forget. I saw the players crying after the last World Cup final. The dream that my teammates and I have is to win something important like the World Cup or the European Championship, but we have to keep our feet on the ground and take it step-by-step. Only the best team can win and I hope that Portugal can be up there with the best teams."
There are still six months of club action to focus on now, and three trophies for Madrid to play for in the meantime, Ronaldo reminded the reporters.
"As for the national team, the objective is to win the World Cup," he said. "But there is still a long time to go before it starts and a lot could happen. I am focusing on my club and on winning La Liga and all of the trophies that we can, and then we will see what happens in the World Cup. You have to enjoy each moment and, right now, Real Madrid are playing really well. We are doing well in the Champions League and La Liga, and now we’ve just started in the Copa del Rey. I feel fine and full of confidence, and I hope that Real Madrid can do great things this year."