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Ronaldo expects the goals to gush, like ketchup

MAGALIESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) - Cristiano Ronaldo said he is not concerned about his scoring drought with Portugal -- because goals will come in a sudden spurt like ketchup shaken from a bottle.

The world’s most expensive player has not hit the net for Portugal for 16 months now, firing blanks in the World Cup qualifiers, but he is not worried about the goal drought.

“Goals, as a football legend once told me, are like ketchup,” Ronaldo told reporters on Sunday, without specifying who was the source of the comparison.

“Sometimes as much as you try, they don’t come out, and when they come, many come all at same time.”

Portugal fans will be hoping he ends that dry spell on Tuesday’s Group G opener against the Ivory Coast in Port Elizabeth.

“I hope so too... I’ve been working as hard as usual, and it is God that knows who works and deserves it, so in that sense I am completely tranquil,” he added.

While confident of getting back among the goals, the Portuguese captain said did not want to set any personal targets for the finals.

“To be the top scorer? No, I’ll give my best and the goals will appear, but I don’t want to set the bar at being the top scorer or the best player at the World Cup,” he said.

Ronaldo believes he had great debut season at Real Madrid after his move from Manchester United for a world record fee of 80 million euros ($96.30 million), scoring 26 goals in the league, but added he felt sad the team ended trophyless.

However, the 25 year-old, who had seemed in somber mood on the flight to South Africa and in the training sessions, appeared to be in good spirits, even joking with a journalist for speaking too quickly in Spanish.

His mood darkened again when asked about Portugal’s absentees, including winger Nani who flew home on Saturday after being ruled out with a shoulder injury earlier in the week.

“Some people say the important ones are those who are here. I disagree, because top players are missed by their national teams when injured. Of course (right back) Jose Bosingwa and Nani will be missed, but we have other solutions.”

One of those solutions might be coach Carlos Queiroz deploying Ronaldo as a roving single striker. Ronaldo said he can play in any of the attacking positions as he has shown on several occasions over the last few years.

Some of those were with his former Manchester United team mate Wayne Rooney who he said played very well in England’s 1-1 draw with the United States on Saturday.

Regarding Steven Gerrard, England’s scorer in that match, Ronaldo said he thought very highly of the Liverpool player, but declined to comment on talks linking him to Real Madrid.

Ronaldo added that Argentina’s Lionel Messi, with whom he denied having a rivalry, had also played very well even though he did not score in Argentina’s 1-0 win over Nigeria.

Editing by Michael Holden