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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 3, 2006

Ronaldo frustrated by bench role at Real Madrid

MADRID, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Brazil striker Ronaldo says he does not understand what he has to do to earn a return to the Real Madrid starting line up under coach Fabio Capello.

'The worst thing about not playing is not having the confidence of the coach and not knowing how to win it back,' Ronaldo said in an interview with Spanish daily ABC on Friday.

The 30-year-old international was Real's top scorer with 14 league goals last season despite suffering a number of niggling injuries.

But with Capello now installed as coach, Ronaldo has lost out to Dutchman Ruud van Nistelrooy, with the Italian rigidly adhering to a system that plays with one out-and-out striker.

Ronaldo underwent a minor operation on his left knee after the World Cup finals and missed the start of the season.

But since then he has only played 100 minutes in the league and the Champions League, has yet to score a goal and has yet to start a game.

'I don't know what the criteria are to win a place in the starting line up. I am in very good shape, with my weight and everything. What I have to do is to try and prove it,' said Ronaldo.

'Capello doesn't have faith with me at the moment. If he did he would have played me more.'

After a close season of speculation over Ronaldo's future with the nine-times European champions, the player reiterated his desire to see out his contract with the club, which ends in 2008.

'I expect to complete my contract here and then to have two years more in Brazil or the United States. I will retire at 35,' Ronaldo added.

'I am a fighter and this is the moment to do battle. It is a small problem compared to others. I am happy when I play football... and at the moment I am not playing much.'

Real, who are third in the standings, are at home to Celta Vigo in the league on Sunday.