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Jan 28, 2013

Ronaldo: We have no excuse

Cristiano Ronaldo says Real Madrid's Copa del Rey semi-final clash with Barcelona on Wednesday will not be easy, but stressed that the fact they will have players missing cannot be used as an excuse for not getting a good result.

• La Liga: Sunday review

Ronaldo spoke to Madrid's club website after scoring a ten minute perfect hat-trick - (left foot, header, right foot - in Sunday's 4-0 Primera Division win over Getafe at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid will be missing regulars Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Angel Di Maria and Fabio Coentrao through injury or suspension against Barca, but Ronaldo said the absences could not be used as an excuse for the team not playing well.

"We will be missing a number of players, key players, who are very important for this squad," he added.

"But that is not an excuse - we have to play well because Barca are a fantastic side. I hope that it will be a great night for us. We are looking forward to a big game."

Having the Copa first leg at the Bernabeu gives Real a chance to make an early impression, and Ronaldo is hoping his side can take advantage of being on home soil.

"It is a really important game, a difficult game," he added. "We are going to play against one of the most difficult sides in the world, so it will be a great night. We are playing at home, so we have a big chance to get a good result."

The hat-trick against city neighbours Getafe was Ronaldo's 19th in just three and a half seasons. It brought him to 179 goals in 176 matches in all competitions for the club, and he has hit 100 at the Bernabeu in just 87 games.

It also means the has 18 goals in 19 La Liga appearances this season.

"[It was] good to reach this mark," he said. "I am happy about it, but my task is to keep doing what I have been doing and giving my best for this club. I want to beat my own record, be better than last year, and I always try to give everything."

The result saw Madrid cut the gap to second placed Atletico to four points, but they remain 15 behind leaders Barcelona in the Primera Division table.

Ronaldo suggested that the noon kick-off had lead to a slow start from Madrid in the goalless first-half, but said that after some "advice" from coach Jose Mourinho they had played better after the break.

"We started out a bit sleepy because we are not used to getting up so early to play," he explained.

"We were a little slow in the first half and we did not play all that well. We reacted in the second half after some advice from the coach and we did a good job. We scored four goals, important for team morale, and we are ready for the upcoming matches."

The Portugal international, who was given a standing ovation by the Bernabeu crowd when he was replaced by Karim Benzema on 72 minutes, was not a doubt for Wednesday's game against Barcelona, Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka told reporters afterwards.

"He just put some ice on [a knock] just as a precaution," Karanka said. "He did not ask to come off.

"It seemed a good idea for him to leave, after he had scored his goals and given his performance. He showed the form he is in with his goals."

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