Disgruntled Ronaldo eyes more records at Dortmund
Disgruntled Cristiano Ronaldo could make more Champions League history on Tuesday as his Real Madrid side look to end their losing streak at Borussia Dortmund.
A hat-trick for Ronaldo in Dortmund, who was left fuming after being substituted on Saturday, would see him become the first player to score 100 European goals.
Real coach Zinedine Zidane subbed Ronaldo for the final 20 minutes of Saturday’s 2-2 Spanish league draw at Las Palmas.
The Portuguese superstar failed to look Zidane in the eye as he came off, but his coach brushed off the sideline snub.
“Not only Ronaldo gets upset when he is substituted,” said the Frenchman.
“We have to live with the discussions.
“I’m not stupid, he’s not stupid.
“We have traveled here with just one goal and we’re thinking only about the game.”
Ronaldo’s free-kick equalizer in Real’s 2-1 comeback win against Sporting Lisbon in their first Group F, the same night Dortmund won 6-0 at Legia Warsaw, left him on 97 goals in European club competition.
His main rival in the race to 100 goals is Barcelona’s star Lionel Messi, who has 89.
But Borussia want to maintain their unbeaten home record against Real, who have won just four times in 29 away games against German clubs.
Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park stadium has particularly bad memories for Madrid, who have lost their last three visits to the Bundesliga giants.
Their 2-0 defeat at Dortmund in the 2014 quarter-finals came a year after their 4-1 thumping in the 2013 semi-finals when Robert Lewandowski scored all four goals for Borussia.
They also lost a group stage game 2-1 at Dortmund in 2012.
Real’s serene run since Zidane took charge in January has hit a slump in the past week.
The European champions dropped points against Villarreal and Las Palmas to snap a 16-game winning streak in the Spanish league.
“I’m not worried. We can certainly play better, but sometimes such games are also good, such results sometimes shake you awake,” said Zidane.
Confidence is high in the Dortmund camp.
After their shock 1-0 defeat at newly-promoted RB Leipzig a fortnight ago in the Bundesliga, Dortmund have netted 20 goals in the four games since.
They are second only to Bayern Munich in Germany’s top flight.
“We are preparing to face the best Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo in top form,” said coach Thomas Tuchel.
“We’ll need our utmost attention and solidarity, plus a lot of hard work.
“It’s the Champions League, it brings out the best in players on evenings like this.”
Tuchel said his stars Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marc Bartra, Andre Schuerrle and Adrian Ramos are all fit after sustaining knocks.
Goetze is expected to partner Raphael Guerreiro in Dortmund’s attacking midfield.
French teenager Ousmane Dembele and Germany’s Andre Schuerrle are set to play on the wings to feed crosses into Aubameyang and Co.
Germany midfielder Julian Weigl will play as the lone defensive midfielder in front of the back four.
For Madrid, Ronaldo will start alongside Gareth Bale in the star-studded Real attack.
Karim Benzema is expected to beat out Alvaro Morata for the number nine role after coming off the bench to score Real’s second against Las Palmas.
However, the visitors will be without Brazilian duo Marcelo and Casemiro through injury.
Casemiro’s absence means ex-Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos will be forced to operate as the holding midfielder on his return to Germany.
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