AC Ajaccio
Leg 1
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Toronto FC
FC Dallas
12:00 AM UTC May 26, 2018
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Houston Dynamo
New York City FC
12:55 AM UTC May 26, 2018
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LA Galaxy
San Jose Earthquakes
3:00 AM UTC May 26, 2018
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12:00 PM UTC May 25, 2018
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7:00 PM UTC May 25, 2018
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Real Madrid
6:45 PM UTC May 26, 2018
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Aston Villa
4:00 PM UTC May 26, 2018
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 By Ben Gladwell

Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid squad don't need to be best friends off pitch

Cristiano Ronaldo says it does not matter how well Real Madrid players get on off the pitch -- as long as they are performing together on it.

Much has been made of the camaraderie shown by Barcelona forwards Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, particularly following their penalty combination at the weekend.

In Madrid, conversely, it is often claimed that Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema do not share a similar friendship.

However, at a news conference ahead of Madrid's Champions League round-of-16 first leg with Roma on Wednesday, Ronaldo, 31, said players do not need to be best friends away from football.

"When I was at Manchester United, we won the Champions League and there were some players I would only say 'hi' to, like [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes or [Rio] Ferdinand," Ronaldo said. "But the harmony on the pitch was great.

"It's not necessary to go out eating with Bale, what matters is when you are on the field. What happens off it doesn't count, it matters that we are a team on it."

With that in mind, the Portugal captain is confident about his side's chances against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico.

"I'm feeling good and the team are good," he said. "We're working well, playing well and scoring lots of goals. Of course this is not the Primera Division, it's the Champions League, but we've got a great desire to win. These are the most difficult games on paper, but we're looking to win it.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale
Cristiano Ronaldo says it is not necessary to go out for dinner with Gareth Bale.

"Whether it's Champions League, domestic league or cup, it's the same for me -- I always want to win. Tomorrow will be a great game against a great side, who are playing at home in front of their own fans, but we'll be looking to win."

Ronaldo, who also walked out of the news conference after being question on his away form, is the record goal scorer in the Champions League, but there is one scoring record in European football's elite club competition that does not belong to him.

That -- the record for the oldest goal scorer -- instead belongs to Francesco Totti, a player he cited as a role model.

"Impressionante [impressive]!" Ronaldo said in Italian when asked what he thought of Roma's 39-year-old talisman. "Fantastic! This shows that age is not important in football. It's great that he keeps playing, it's an example to everybody that there are no limits."

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane was equally lavish with his praise of Totti, who he hopes will continue to play for as long as possible.

"It's up to Totti [if he retires at the end of the season]," said Zidane, who played against Totti in the final game of his career -- the 2006 World Cup final.

"What he's done up to now has been spectacular. You've got to take your hat off to him. We'll see if he continues, but for those of us who love football, it is always a pleasure to see him on the field."

Zidane is preparing for his first Champions League game as coach and it is a prospect that excites him.

"It's special for the club, it's special for me and it's particularly special for the players," Zidane said. "The most important thing for us is being prepared, and I think we are prepared. We're physically well.

"We feel the necessary pressure to play a Champions League game. We're focused and this is the most important thing for me. The tension is right for a Champions League game."


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