Barcelona: Cristiano Ronaldo`s seven goals in two matches show he is back to his prolific best following a run of injury niggles as Real Madrid prepare to face Villarreal this weekend in La Liga.
The Portuguese admitted he had over-stretched himself after having knee problems at the back end of the last season which he carried into the World Cup and then suffered a hamstring injury at the start of this campaign.
He was rested for Real`s match against Real Sociedad and following time-off for the international break at the beginning of this month he has returned reinvigorated.
Carrying the ball home after his four-goal haul in the 5-1 win over Elche in mid-week, the 29-year-old showed that he has lost none of the desire.
"As far as I remember I’ve never scored seven goals in five days," Ronaldo told reporters at the Bernabeu.
Ronaldo also bagged a hat-trick against Deportivo La Coruna last weekend in an 8-2 demolition and has now made his best ever start to a league season with nine goals so far.
"I needed an active break as in my 12-year career I have always had preseason but this year I was unable due to the problems I had at the end of the last season," Ronaldo explained.
"Those days without a match worked very well for me because I trained, rested and recovered. These goals reflect the work I did.
"Each day I am now feeling quicker and gradually I am finding my rhythm. This is the fourth game that I have played a full 90 minutes but I think I may be still lacking something as I have been a long time out.
"For that reason it is not the moment to rest and I think the coach will have other opportunities to rotate the squad."
Real made a stuttering start but have responded to back-to-back defeats with two big wins and have also closed the gap on leaders Barcelona who drew 0-0 away to Malaga on Wednesday.
They were the first points the Catalan side have dropped this season and with 13 points are joint leaders with Sevilla who now take on champions Atletico Madrid, two points behind.
Barca are still to concede a goal but it was their forward line that let them down against the Andalusian side with Lionel Messi and Neymar failing to make an impact.
It came only a few days since they swept aside Levante5-0 last weekend playing their usual cavalier football.
"We aren’t machines and we can’t play with the same intensity every three games," Barca coach Luis Enrique told a news conference in Malaga. Their target now is Granada on Saturday at Camp Nou.
"It wasn`t a great game from us but we know what we are trying to do and our objectives. It was a difficult match and we were not clinical enough inside the area. It is not as though we were in any danger ourselves even though Malaga did play well."