The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ronaldo returns, leaner and meaner

Madrid: Ronaldo looked leaner and fitter than ever as he prepared to fly off on Thursday with a star-studded Real Madrid squad on the 18-day tour of Asia.

“Slim Ronnie,” was the caption in sports daily AS to accompany a picture of the 26-year-old, who arrived back from Rio on Wednesday following a South American break which included a promotional visit to Guatemala.

Ronaldo, who helped Real to their 29th Spanish league title but was unable to lead them to Champions League glory, has shed five kilograms over the summer break and has vowed to take the club to even greater heights. “I have many objectives, namely to win everything and to score a lot of goals,” said the samba star.

While in Guatemala, Ronaldo said he believed England skipper David Beckham would need to ensure his on-field performances match the hype surrounding Real’s new ‘galactico’ (superstar) off it. On his arrival in Madrid the Brazilian said he believed the pair would hit it off immediately. “I’m really looking forward to playing with him,” Ronaldo said.

Ronaldo will be looking to ensure he maintains Real’s domestic supremacy at the expense of Barcelona, who have just signed his Brazilian teammate Ronaldinho from Paris St Germain.

“I am really pleased he is coming to play in Spain. He will give the fans a great boost,” Ronaldo said on his website.

“This season we’re going to enjoy football of the highest quality. He will be playing for our big rivals and he’ll therefore be a threat to us. I hope I’ll meet up with Ronaldinho on the pitch soon — I’ll give him a warm welcome,” Ronaldo said.

Meanwhile, president Florentino Perez made himself clear before Real Madrid embarked on their tour. “We have no illusions about our task, which is to win every competition and play spectacular football which entertains our supporters,” he said. “We want to win everything,” he told Marca magazine in an uncompromising interview Thursday.

Asked about David Beckham’s role in a side already overflowing with top stars Perez said simply: “He is a great footballer who is coming on board. Make no mistake, Real Madrid only sign the best players in the world.”

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