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    CSKA Moscow

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    2

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UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Santiago Bernabeu, Spain

Attendance: 71000

* Local time based on your geographic location.

Real Madrid

  • Cristiano Ronaldo 4'
  • Cristiano Ronaldo 28' PEN

2 - 1

FT

Juventus

  • Fernando Llorente 22'

Give Bale a break - Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo has urged the media and Real Madrid fans to ease the pressure on Gareth Bale.

The Welshman returned from a thigh injury in Saturday's 2-0 win over Malaga at the Bernabeu, coming on with 14 minutes remaining and then winning a penalty in stoppage time, which Ronaldo converted.

Bale has only made one start since his summer move from Tottenham to Madrid, which is estimated to have cost Los Blancos 101 million euros ( B£85.5 million).

Following his cameo appearance against Malaga, Bale is expected to play more minutes in Wednesday's Champions League clash with Juventus, with a view to starting Saturday's Clasico against Barcelona at the Nou Camp.

Speaking at a press conference before the clash with the Serie A champions, Ronaldo said Bale was settling in well at Madrid, but could do with less pressure on his shoulders.

"I think he is doing well. Since he arrived he's had it a bit tough, he didn't have a pre-season and he was injured so it's not been easy for him, but you can see how excited he is to be here," said the Portuguese superstar.

"We shouldn't put too much pressure on him, that's not good for him.

"He always wants to learn and we have to try and help him, not put pressure on him, and leave him alone, because I'm certain he'll be very good for the team."

Ronaldo was also asked about stories that emerged in the Italian media this week that he had been close to joining Juventus before he signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2003, aged 18.

"According to the press, I have been close to signing for every club," he added.

"People can say what they want but the only team I signed for when I was 18 was Manchester United. It's a good thing that so many teams wanted to sign me when I was 18 years old, many teams wanted me and Juventus was one of them, but United and Alex Ferguson gave me the biggest guarantee that they would help me grow as a player. Many clubs were interested, but the one I liked the most was Manchester United."

Madrid head into Wednesday's match top of Champions League Group B after beating Galatasaray 6-1 in their first game, which they followed with a convincing 3-0 win at home to FC Copenhagen.

Juventus may be second in the group, but have just two points following a 1-1 draw in Copenhagen and a 2-2 draw against Roberto Mancini's Galatasaray in Turin.

Antonio Conte's side lost 4-2 at Fiorentina on Sunday, slipping five points behind Serie A leaders Roma.

However, Ronaldo dismissed the suggestion that the game was more important to the Italians.

"We have six points and no-one qualifies with just six points so we need to win the game," he said.

"It's a very big game and whoever wins the match will get a huge boost. We are at home and we have to try and win, we know Juve are strong and they will be hurt after losing to Fiorentina, but we have to play our football and be focused, that's the only way we'll win. If we get to nine points, we'll be very close to qualifying."

With the exception of Xabi Alonso, Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has a full squad to choose from, meaning Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema, who both missed the win over Malaga on Saturday with injuries, could return to the starting line-up.

Juventus coach Conte has insisted the game will not decide his team's fate in the Champions League.

The Serie A champions have taken just two points from their opening two games in Group B - the shock draw at Copenhagen and then a draw with Galatasaray in Turin, where the Italians surrendered the three points by conceding an 89th-minute goal scored by Umut Bulut.

With Galatasaray facing back-to-back games with group minnows Copenhagen while Juventus take on leaders Madrid twice in a fortnight, the Turks could gain significant ground on Conte's side in the hunt for second spot if they do not deliver against Madrid.

Nonetheless, the coach was relaxed in his pre-match press conference, declaring: "I believe tomorrow's result will not say anything about what will happen in the group. There are three games left [after the match at the Bernabeu]."

He was not entirely optimistic about his side's chances against Madrid, who have beaten Galatasaray 6-1 and Copenhagen 4-0 so far in the competition.

He said: "We are playing a team that has scored 10 goals in two matches. We know we are playing against a team of champions and we know the difficulties we will have. But we want to prove we can compete at this level and play a good game."

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