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Ronaldo eyes best season

ESPN staff
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Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 13 goals in six games for both club and country © Getty Images
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Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has told AS that 2013-14 could be shaping up to be the best campaign of his career, although he added: "I am good every season."

Ronaldo's stunning hat-trick in Tuesday's play-off second leg in Sweden clinched Portugal's place at next year's World Cup, while he already has 31 goals in the first 22 games of the current campaign.

His strike rate is speeding up, too - since late October, Ronaldo has scored 13 goals in six games for club and country - and he believes he could be about to set a new benchmark in his own career.

"I am good every season," Ronaldo said. "At least I prepare myself for this, and try to be the best I can. Maybe, with the number of goals I have, this could be the best moment of my life. This could maybe be my best season, but I believe I always play my role."

The play-off with Sweden had been billed as a personal duel between Ronaldo and Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and it played out that way, with the Madrid star netting all four of his side's goals in the 4-2 aggregate victory and the Paris Saint-Germain striker contributing a brace.

Ronaldo said he had been aware of the personalised nature of the games and was happy to come out on top, while he appreciated his rival's gesture in applauding the clinching goal.

"Yes, and this time I won," Ronaldo said. "[But his] gesture leaves me very happy. Zlatan is a fantastic player and when you have the respect of your colleagues and fans it is a very nice feeling."

Ronaldo's performance in the World Cup playoff has seen Ronaldo displace previous favourite Franck Ribery as the frontrunner for the Ballon d'Or, with FIFA having controversially extended the voting deadline.

The 2008 winner - who was previously reported to be planning not to attend January's ceremony due to his disappointment with FIFA president Sepp Blatter - declined to comment any further on the matter.

"I do not want to talk more about the Ballon d'Or," he said. "I concentrate on doing my work as well as possible, with the national team and with my club."

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