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Aug 13, 2014

Ronaldo: Real will repeat as champs

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner reacts to Cristiano Ronaldo's comments and discusses the growth of Gareth Bale following Madrid's win over Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup.

Cristiano Ronaldo expects English clubs to challenge for European glory this season, but still believes Real Madrid will end up making Champions League history.

Ronaldo was back in the goal-scoring groove on Tuesday night after an injury-hit World Cup for Portugal, scoring twice in the 2-0 Super Cup victory over Spanish rivals Sevilla in Cardiff.

The reigning world player of the year was named the official man of the match by his former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and seems set for another trophy-laden campaign.

"Madrid are going to be the first team," Ronaldo replied when asked if Real could make Champions League history by retaining the title.

"I hope so. Maybe we have the potential to be the best but I believe the players that Real Madrid have bought this season -- James [Rodriguez], [Toni] Kroos and [Keylor] Navas -- are going to give more support to the team and more quality.

"I'm very happy with the quality that we have in the squad, so it's fantastic and we are going to try and win all the trophies."

England's Champions League challenge will be spearheaded by Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea while Arsenal will be aiming to overcome Besiktas, of Turkey, in the play-off round to join them in the group stages.

"English teams are always there, they are always strong teams," Ronaldo said. "Let's see when the league starts and they buy the new players. We have to see what is going to happen.

"For us, it's good to win this trophy to give confidence to the team. It means a lot. It was a very important trophy and we start on the right foot.

"We played good, we played better than Sevilla, and I scored two goals coming back from my injury. So it was a perfect night for me and I feel very pleased about that. My teammates help me a lot to score the goals so it was a fantastic night."

Cristiano Ronaldo says Gareth Bale's passes have been 'fantastic.'

Ronaldo paid special tribute to his fellow forward Gareth Bale, the Wales international setting up the first goal with a wonderful cross on the half-hour mark.

"Bale was fantastic, he played amazing," Ronaldo said. "He looks strong, he looks fast and is a very important player for us. He had a fantastic season last year so it doesn't surprise me the way he plays.

"He showed his quality week by week and it's great to have Gareth with us and be part of the success of Real Madrid.

"I'm very glad to play with him to because he understands me and I understand him. He does fantastic passes and I love it."

Bale, the world's most expensive player following his 100 million-pound move from Tottenham a year ago, is now fully settled at the club and expects Real to be a major force again this season.

"When I came to Madrid I wanted to settle down off the pitch as soon as possible because I knew if I could concentrate on my football I knew what I was capable of," Bale said.

"I know everybody in the squad now. I feel comfortable and the second season you're obviously feeling a lot better. You miss some things about home, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it in Madrid and looking forward to the season.

"In sport anything can happen but hopefully we'll be strong again. We feel confident and will be trying our hardest to win every trophy."

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