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The Portuguese defender praises his team-mate as the world's best but believes that the emphatic victory over Valladolid shows that they can manage without their star forward

Real Madrid defender Pepe believes that his side have shown that they can cope in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, whom he feels is the world's best player.

The forward was sidelined for the second consecutive game after suffering an injury in the 5-0 hammering of Almeria but Los Blancos still produced a formidable display to comfortably defeat Valladolid 4-0, with Gareth Bale netting a hat-trick.

"Cristiano is the best in the world and we need him but the rest of the team worked very well," Pepe enthused to the club's official website. "[Karim] Benzema, [Angel] Di Maria and Isco all had great games."

Real have been in fine form in recent weeks, scoring 18 goals in their last four games after an indifferent start to the season, and the centre-back says that the players are beginning to adapt to Carlo Ancelotti's tactical methods, particularly their high-pressing game.

He added: "We started very well in this game, pressing the opponents high up the pitch and making our job in defence much easier.

"We have very clear ideas, we are trying to do things well and the important thing is to continue this good form."

The win saw Real Madrid close the gap on the early frontrunners Atletico Madrid and Barcelona to only three points, though Barca play fifth-placed Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

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