Ronaldo assures fitness ahead of clash with Man United

Madrid, Feb 6 (IANS) Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo Wednesday assured that he will be in condition to play the first leg of his side's Champions League last 16 tie against Manchester United next Wednesday.

The striker, who celebrated his 28th birthday Tuesday is away with the Portuguese national side, but has been struggling with an ankle problem in recent days, reports Xinhua.

"It was a slight strain, but I am a lot better now. I will be in conditions to play at the weekend and against Manchester," assured Ronaldo in an interview with sports paper, Diario AS.

With his birthday in mind, the striker looked to the future, admitting he didn't know whether or not he would be able to continue playing until 38 years old, like his former Manchester United teammate, Ryan Giggs.

"I am working to do that, they say that when you get to 32-33 years old, you change the way you play. You are not as fast, but you gain in experience," he said, before looking to the more short term.

"I want to leave my mark at Real Madrid and I will only do that by defending my club with all of my strength. I don't think about comparisons with other player, nor about records, because that isn't good," he said.

"The fans can see that i give my body and soul to defend Real Madrid's shirt and I am happy by the affection I get from the fans. I know they love me and that is very satisfying. When I hear them singing my name, it is fantastic, because I always give my all," said Ronaldo.

Although he is loved in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Ronaldo is not popular with other set of fans, although it doesn't seem to worry him.

"I can't make everyone happy. Not even God was able to do that, so I can't do it either," he said.

Finally, Ronaldo was asked about his early season declarations when he said he was "sad", which prompted speculation he would leave the club.

"That has changed, because I am doing what I like to do, which is play football and I feel happy on the pitch and with my companions. Maybe my way of thinking has changed as well, so I feel better than I did then," he admitted, although he refused to say whether or not he would sit down to and discuss a new contract with the club.

"I am not going to talk much about that, because it is not important: what is in my head now is for Madrid to win the Champions League and the King's Cup. A new contract is not in mind now and I am not worried about it," he said, adding that money was not a factor.

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