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Sunday 17 November 2019

Ronaldo: My desire can inspire Juve

CHALLENGE: (l-r) Juve’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Pic: Getty
CHALLENGE: (l-r) Juve’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Pic: Getty

Cristiano Ronaldo is hoping his dedication and passion for football will help Juventus to revive their Champions League hopes.

Juve head into tonight's last 16, second leg clash with Atletico Madrid in Turin trailing 2-0 after late goals from Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin handed the Spaniards a significant advantage.

However Ronaldo, whose last-gasp penalty for Real Madrid dumped the runaway Serie A leaders out of last season's competition at the quarter-final stage, is in no mood to allow them to bow out once again without a fight having already demonstrated his prowess to remarkable effect in Portugal, England and Spain.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, who has scored a staggering 697 goals in 984 games during his career to date, said: "I have no secrets, just my dedication and my passion for this sport, I love to play football more than anything else.

"I've enjoyed myself in Portugal, England and Spain and I am now doing so in Italy. For me, it's a pleasure to score goals and to help my team win. I'm happy." Juve are yet to lose in 27 league games to date this season, and the defeat in Madrid came amid a run of five successive domestic victories.

Having scored 22 goals against Atletico in 31 appearances for arch-rivals Real and converted the winning penalty in the 2016 Champions League final shoot-out, Ronaldo is confident the tie is still alive.

He said: "Everyone knows that they are a strong team, they defend very well, they don't take a lot of risks and they play on the counter-attack, but we are ready, and we will do everything we can to beat them."

Diego Simeone's men, who have won their last five games in all competitions, have made it to the last 16 for the fifth time in six seasons, and it is more than seven years since they have lost to an Italian club away from home.

But Simeone is adamant his side will take nothing for granted despite their commanding advantage from the first leg.

Simeone said: "They (Juventus) are a very strong team with top players in every position.

"We have to stay calm, be humble and know that we're playing a very strong side.

"We will try to take the match in the direction we want it to go."

CHAMPIONS league

JUVENTUS (0) v ATLETICO (2)

Live BT Sport 3/Virgin (KO 8.0)

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