Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti believes Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo will swiftly return to his best once he gets back on the score sheet.
The 30-year-old Portuguese star has gone three games without scoring and there were plenty of questions over his form and fitness ahead of titleholders Real’s Champions League last 16 clash with Schalke on Wednesday.
Ronaldo has been struggling with a knee problem but Ancelotti said he was happy with his performance in the weekend league win over Deportivo La Coruna.
"Against Deportivo, I thought he was good from a physical point of view," the former AC Milan, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain coach said.
"He was able for the intensity of the game and he’s making progress. He hasn’t scored yet but tomorrow (Wednesday) is the next chance for him to get one."
Ancelotti confirmed that Pepe will return to the side for the first leg against Schalke in Germany.
The Portuguese hardman defender has missed almost a month of action due to the rib injury he suffered in a bruising Copa del Rey encounter with city rivals Atletico.
Fellow centre back Sergio Ramos and midfielders Luka Modric and James Rodriguez remain unavailable for Real, who are hoping to retain the Champions League trophy this season.
"It’s a fantastic motivation for us," Ancelotti said.
"We were here last year with a dream to win the Champions League. We are here this year and we have the same dream.
"History says that it will be really difficult -– almost impossible -– but we have to try."
Wednesday’s match sees Real midfielder Toni Kroos face Schalke for the first time since leaving Bayern Munich in the summer.
Last season Real became the first team to score six goals away from home in the knockout stages when they hammered Schalke 6-1 in the first leg of their last 16 tie.
But the Spanish league leaders have won on only three of their 27 trips to Germany in European competition and Kroos believes that they will not have it as easy again in Gelsenkirchen.
"I think that Schalke played a part in that result too and it’s unrealistic to expect that scoreline to be repeated tomorrow.
"We want to get a good result here that will allow us to get over the line at the Bernabeu.
"With Bayern we were always very successful here at Schalke, and I hope that will be the case tomorrow as well."
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