Real Madrid striker Ronaldo hopes his two
late goals against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League are an indication
he is getting back to somewhere near his best form.
Ronaldo salvaged a point for a much-changed Real side with goals in the
86th and 88th minutes as Dynamo, having led 2-0 after 27 minutes, missed
their chance to claim their first win of the group stages.
With Real already sure of second place, and Dynamo unable to get third
spot and a subsequent UEFA Cup berth, there was little to play for in
the game except for personal performances and pride.
Real coach Fabio Capello therefore opted to draft in a host of fringe
and reserve-team players for the match, but it was one of the old guard
who caught the attention.
Ronaldo has missed much of this season through injury, but he played a
full match in Kiev and was rewarded with his first goals in European
competition since netting against Roma in December 2004.
"It had been a long time since I scored in the Champions League, but
it's also true that I haven't played many minutes in the competition
over the last two years," said Ronaldo.
"I am very happy to have scored again. I feel better every day. I have
to continue proving that I'm still the Ronaldo of old."
Coach Capello was delighted by Ronaldo's performance, plus the displays
of young attacking midfielder Miguel Angel Nieto and goalkeeper Diego
"It was an important match for Ronaldo," Capello said.
"I have a lot of faith in Nieto, he played a complete game. Diego Lopez
is a great goalkeeper. He has the misfortune of having Iker (Casillas)
in front of him, but all good teams need two good keepers."
As for the match itself, Capello had faith that his side could battle
back from their two-goal half-time deficit.
"Dynamo have good players. But Madrid also had the opportunity to take
the match. I told them at half-time that we couldn't lose here."
Like Ronaldo, David Beckham also enjoyed the rarity of a full run-out in
the absence of midfield regulars Emerson and Raul.
Aside from getting a starting berth, the England midfielder, who hit the
post in the second half, was also the recipient of glowing praise from
Real president Ramon Calderon before the match.
Calderon has been impressed by Beckham's attitude as the former England
captain battles to get back into the first team, and once again insisted
he hopes the midfielder signs a new contract with Real.
"Beckham is an exceptional player on and off the pitch. I would like him
to sign on for the rest of his career," Calderon said on his club's
"He has never complained about being benched and his charm and caring
attitude always shine through."
Beckham's current four-year contract runs out next summer, and will be
free to negotiate with other clubs in January.