Ronaldo wants focus on league title

The Manchester United winger wants his team to concentrate of defending their crown.

    Cristiano Ronaldo's goals have been the key to
    Manchester United's success this season [AFP]
    Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't want Moscow mentioned until Manchester United has successfully defended its English Premier League title.

    The Portugal winger doesn't want the Red Devils to lose focus in the league amid the euphoria of reaching European football's showpiece match on May 21 in the Russian capital.

    "It's a great feeling to be in my first Champions League final,'' Ronaldo said after Manchester United's 1-0 victory over FC Barcelona.

    "I feel very good. It's a massive result. But the final is in three weeks, we have to work and keep the concentration and most important now is the league.

    "The final doesn't matter, we need to think about Chelsea and the league.''

    And that's set for a tense finale.

    United's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea last week means they only lead the English standings due to their vastly superior goal difference.

    But victories over West Ham on Saturday and Wigan the following week in the remaining games will guarantee a 17th title.

    A prestigious double beckons

    "We have a great opportunity to win the Premier League and the Champions League,'' Ronaldo said.

    "Now, we need to relax a little bit and think it was good work and try to win.''

    United's duel with Chelsea could continue in the Champions League final if the Blues beat Liverpool in the other semifinal match later Wednesday.

    The Red Devils progressed after a sublime goal by midfielder Paul Scholes, the only score separating United and Barcelona over the two legs.

    "It was an intensive game,'' Ronaldo said.

    "I thought Manchester United played better than Barcelona, we created more chances, we played better football. You want to win and we deserved to.''

    Ronaldo is relieved that his penalty miss in the opening minutes at the Nou Camp last week didn't come back to haunt him.

    "It doesn't matter now,'' he said.

    "We go forward, we are in the final. Sometimes I score, sometimes I miss, this is football. It's been a great season for me, I'm in a great moment.

    "I've scored many goals. I have played very good and the team has played fantastic as well.''

    Key man

    Ronaldo's contribution to United's bid for two trophies has been immense, scoring 38 goals in all competitions.

    That was recognised by his fellow professionals on Sunday when they named him their player of the year for a second straight season.

    He has a message to detractors who doubt his ability to make a significant contribution in big matches.

    "My performance wasn't important, winning was, and we're in the final,'' he said.

    Manager Alex Ferguson has already said that Scholes, who was suspended for United's 1999 triumph, will be the first name on his team-sheet for the final.

    Ronaldo is glad veterans like the 33-year-old English midfielder and winger Ryan Giggs are still there to combine with the youthful exuberance of Nani, Anderson and himself.

    "It's very important to play with experienced players,'' Ronaldo said.

    "But it's important as well to play with young players because they have a lot of power and run more, and both things are good for the team.''

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Meet the hardline group willing to do anything, including going against their government, to claim land for Israel.