MADRID: In-form striker Cristiano Ronaldo will try to take Real Madrid to the brink of the Spanish title on Wednesday against Celta Vigo.
Madrid would move three points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga with a victory in Galicia ahead of the season finale on Sunday.
The match at Balaidos was originally scheduled for February but had to be postponed after strong winds damaged the stadium.
The only force of nature Celta Vigo need to worry about now is Ronaldo, who is driving Madrid towards a potential league and Champions League double.
“More than the goal itself, it’s what he’s done so far. In the decisive moments, Cristiano is always there,” Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane told reporters on Sunday when asked about the Portuguese forward. “He’s just got something, he’s different.”
Ronaldo struck twice as Madrid beat Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu, reaching 401 goals for the club in all competitions since he signed for them in 2009 from Manchester United.
This season the 32-year-old has 22 strikes in the top flight and hit hat-tricks in the recent Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich and semi-final against rivals Atletico Madrid.
Thanks to Zidane’s constant rotation and a new role as a centre-forward, Ronaldo seems fully fit as the season reaches its decisive stages.
“We’re in good physical shape and are focused,” added Zidane. “We are giving our absolute all in every game, every move, giving everything.”
Gareth Bale is still out injured, however, along with Pepe and Dani Carvajal. But Madrid will be confident of beating a Celta Vigo side in 13th with nothing to play for this season after being eliminated from the Europa League by Manchester United in last Thursday’s semi-final second leg.
Zidane warned his team they have to be at their best, however, if they are to lift their first league trophy since 2012, denying Barcelona their third consecutive victory.
The coach said: “Every day we’re closer, but it’s more complicated.
“Anything can happen, but we always think positively and we’ll give everything until the end.”
Victory against Celta would move Madrid to 90 points and mean they just have to avoid defeat against Malaga on Sunday, the final day of the season, to hold off Barcelona and win the title. — Reuters