Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo not giving up on La Liga title chance
Cristiano Ronaldo admitted that winning La Liga would be difficult for Real Madrid, but added that "the club will fight to the end."
Real Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw against Malaga over the weekend, a result that saw Barcelona open up a nine-point lead at the top of the table over their eternal rivals.
Los Blancos have never overhauled a nine-point deficit to claim the Liga crown. Only one side has managed the feat, Barcelona in 1998-99, but they had a span of 24 games to make up the difference. Madrid only have 13, including the visit of Atletico this weekend and a trip to Camp Nou, where Zidane's side would have to win 5-0 to redress the balance in the head-to-head stakes.
Speaking in an interview with league sponsors Mahou, Ronaldo placed the utmost importance on the upcoming derbi.
"It is a very important match and it is at home with our supporters," he said. "Our opponent defends very well but we must win. Although La Liga is complicated we are going to battle right to the end."
Ronaldo said it makes him happy and proud to hear the fans cheering for him at the Bernabeu.
"I feel the affection from our supporters," he said. "When the people cheer my name it makes me very proud."
Altlhough Madrid were buoyed by their 2-0 Champions League win against Roma, the third trip to Andalusia was as much of a struggle as the first two, which saw a 1-1 draw at Real Betis and a narrow 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Granada.
The 31-year-old said he feels right at home in Madrid.
"When you play for the biggest club in the world, there is pressure but I am used to it," he said. "The size of the club means that people see us differently, but when I weigh it all on a personal level it has been positive since I have arrived. I am very happy and I want to stay here.
"When I got here I wanted to be the best and that is what I have tried to be. Little by little I am leaving my mark," he said, adding that he has little to complain about.
"It wouldn't be fair given the current state of the world for one to want to choose everything that one wants to do," he said. "I do what I like the most and my accomplishments are recognised both at the individual and team level. Perfect scenarios do not exist. I love Madrid and I would like to live here at the end of my career because it has given me a lot and the people are phenomenal. Also, it is close to Portugual, and the weather and food are very good."