Real Madrid starlet Jese Rodriguez says he learns every day from playing and training alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, while maintaining that he is a different type of player from the Portuguese superstar.
Jese, 21, has made a tremendous impact in his first season as a senior Madrid player, and is set to start in Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Schalke at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
The Canary Islander told the official prematch news conference that he was especially impressed by the day to day work Ronaldo put in on the training ground to ensure he could break records game after game.
“[Ronaldo’s] figures are spectacular, but that is not strange to me, as he is such a professional and works so hard each day,” Jese said. “Cristiano is a unique player, a great example for me, I have learned a lot from him. But we are different types of players. Cristiano is Cristiano, and I am me.
“I have a secondary role and I have to take advantage of chances when they come. If they had told me that my first year with Madrid’s first team would be like this, I would have taken it. I have learned so many things, from the coach and my teammates.”
With Madrid 6-1 up from the first leg Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti is to name a much-changed side for Tuesday’s game, but Jese denied he and his teammates had already started to focus on Sunday’s looming La Liga clasico against Barcelona at the Bernabeu.
“We are just thinking about tomorrow’s game, it is important to make sure we qualify for the next round,” Jese said. “We take on the game the same as always, a game we have to play well. We want to win, in front of our fans.”
Meanwhile, Schalke will also to rest several key players, with in-form Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Kevin-Prince Boateng most likely to start the tie on the bench.
The Bundesliga side goes into the second leg with the notion of capitalising on their good domestic form in upcoming games against Eintracht Braunschweig and the prestigious Revierderby at Borussia Dortmund within the next week, Schalke only “want to play well at the Bernabeu,” coach Jens Keller told a news conference on Tuesday.
“We know it’s almost impossible to reach the Champions League quarterfinal from here,” he added and also pointed at his squad, which Keller described as “worn out.”
The Schalke boss just hopes that no more players will add to the ongoing injury crisis in Gelsenkirchen, with eight squad players are already sidelined.
Keller said: “If another player gets injured, it’ll be very frustrating before the last few weeks of the season. We’ve only got so many options.”