Cristiano Ronaldo: "Real Madrid? I'd take that in the final"

The Juventus forward would enjoy a reunion with his former club, who could be drawn in the last 16, but would prefer to face them in Istanbul next May.

Cristiano Ronaldo durante el encuentro entre Bayer Leverkusen y Juventus de la Champions League.
Lars Baron Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo is keen to face his former club Real Madrid in the Champions League but would prefer to avoid them when the last 16 draw is made next Monday.

The Juventus forward spoke to the media after the game against Bayer Leverkusen and said a return to the Bernabéu would be ideal, but he would prefer to wait until next May and play Zinedine Zidane’s side, with whom he won four Champions League trophies, in Istanbul.

Ronaldo: "Real Madrid are an extraordinary side"

“Play Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League? Madrid are an extraordinary side but I’d prefer to play them later on. In the final? I’d take that right now,” Ronaldo said.

The Portugal captain also spoke about his recent injury issues and said that he is fully recovered: “I feel much better now. The pain I had is in the past now. I had trouble with my knee for several weeks but now it’s fine. The team as well. Everything is improving…”

That is potentially not good news for Madrid, whose three consecutive Champions League triumphs in 2016, 2017 and 2018 saw Ronaldo plunder 43 goals across three seasons. The Portuguese is the competition’s top scorer of all time with 128 goals and tends to find his groove in the knock-out stages, where he has been particularly lethal in recent seasons.