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Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund


Cristiano Ronaldo is the top scorer in the history of the Champions League with 113 goals in 145 games

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Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo deserves more respect despite his lack of La Liga goals this season, says boss Zinedine Zidane.

Ronaldo, 32, has scored eight of Real’s 14 Champions League Group H goals to help the 12-time winners reach the last-16 as runners-up to Tottenham.

No player has scored more Champions League goals than Ronaldo, but he has just two La Liga goals this season.

“Write Cristiano off at your peril,” said Zidane.

‘He’s working hard until the goals start flowing again’

Defending champions Real host German club Borussia Dortmund at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

While the Spanish side have qualified as group runners-up, Dortmund, who are third in the group, need to avoid defeat to guarantee a place in the Europa League.

However, all the pre-match talk in Spain has been about Ronaldo’s lack of domestic goals as Zidane’s side trail leaders Barcelona by eight points in the La Liga table.

“We have to give Cristiano a bit more support and show more respect,” added the Real manager.

“He’s so good that when things aren’t going quite so well for him, people start to talk.

“The people who love him and Real Madrid know what he’s doing. He’s working hard until the goals start flowing again.

“Last season he did a phenomenal job. It’s a long season and we’re only halfway there.”

Bale could return on Saturday

The match has come too soon for Gareth Bale to make a comeback from his latest injury.

Welshman Bale, 28, returned after two months out and made two goals in Real’s 2-2 draw with Fuenlabrada in the Copa del Rey last week.

However, he missed last weekend’s goalless draw at Athletic Bilbao with a recurrence of a calf injury.

Gareth Bale has not started a game for Real Madrid since 26 September

“He still hasn’t trained with us,” added Zidane.

“He’s out on the pitch doing bits, but not alongside the team.”

Zidane said Bale would “certainly” be travelling with the squad later this month to the United Arab Emirates for the 2017 Fifa Club World Cup