Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Ronaldo - the best is yet to come

Manchester United hero Cristiano Ronaldo believes he has hit peak form at exactly the right time after helping to fire his side into the Champions League final.

United beat Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium tonight to secure a 4-1 aggregate success and will face Chelsea or Barcelona in Rome on May 27.

Ronaldo scored twice after Park Ji-sung's opener and when asked if he is now back to his best, the attacker told ITV1: "I think so, yes.

"In the last few games I have felt good, felt fit. This is a crucial time in the season and the best games are coming."

Ronaldo moved to spare Manuel Almunia's blushes by admitting his first goal, a 40-yard free-kick, swerved past the Arsenal stopper.

"The shot was quite difficult to save because the ball moved a little bit," he said. "I just try to do my best to put the ball in the net and it was a good goal."

Darren Fletcher's harsh sending off in the second half led to Robin van Persie's penalty-spot consolation and Ronaldo expressed sympathy for his team-mate, who will now miss the final.

"It is very disappointing, he deserves to be in the final because he is a fantastic player, he runs a lot and is a team player," said Ronaldo.

"He deserves to play in the final but this is football."

Sir Alex Ferguson was clearly upset for Fletcher and said: "You can see the ball has moved in a different direction. It moves away from Cesc Fabregas.

"I think it's terribly unlucky.

"There is nothing you can do about it."

When asked if the player would have been selected for the final in Rome, the Scot added: "You saw his performance tonight and all the big games Darren is always a big player for you."

Describing United's overall display, Ferguson admitted his side had benefited from Gibbs' slip for the first goal but continued: "The performance in terms of confidence was terrific."

United's final opponents will be decided tomorrow when Chelsea host Barcelona with the teams goalless after last week's draw at the Nou Camp.

When asked who he believed would win, Ferguson said: "Barcelona have fantastic players, I was drooling watching them (in the 6-2 win against Real Madrid).

"But at Chelsea with no centre-back - that might cost them."

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre