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The Portugal international has struck nine times in his last six games in all competitions - but his Italian coach says that he has been playing at that level since August

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has dismissed the notion that Cristiano Ronaldo is currently enjoying his best spell of the season, arguing that the forward has been in top form right since the start of the 2013-14 campaign.

The Portugal international has netted a staggering nine goals in his last six appearances for los Blancos in all competitions, prompting many pundits to suggest that the 29-year-old could not be in better shape ahead of Sunday's Clasico clash with Barcelona.

However, Ancelotti says that Madrid's No.7 has been playing at the same extraordinary level all season long.

"Now is not Ronaldo's best moment," the Italian told reporters on Saturday. "His best moment was when the season started - and he's just continuing in the same moment."

But while Ancelotti acknowledges that Ronaldo will have a key role to play against the Blaugrana, he feels that the crunch Liga clash will be decided in midfield, an area in which he feels Madrid are superior.

"There are players in the teams who can win the game on their own," the former Chelsea boss mused. "But the difference will be the work of the teams, not just the quality of individuals.

"The midfield is a very important area. I'm confident that we can beat them in that area of the field.

"We must be careful with Neymar and [Lionel] Messi, though, because they have a lot of ability. The defensive line and centre of midfield have to work together."

In terms of Madrid's attack, though, Ancelotti is delighted that both Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema will be fully fit to face Barca.

"Bale's condition is optimal," he enthused. "We're delighted with him. Maybe he had some problems at first, but hopefully he can maintain this level until the end of the league season.

"Benzema is also fine. We had a small problem with Isco, but he trained well. All the players are fine."

Madrid, of course, can put seven points between themselves and third-placed Barcelona with a win at the Bernabeu but Ancelotti insists that the two sides' respective Liga positions does not add any extra significance to the biggest game in club football.

"The Clasico is always important and there is always the same pressure," he reasoned. "I don't think it's different for the two teams.

"Yes, it's important for the league, but the Clasico is a different game to the rest."

Madrid's eagerly-awaited meeting with Barca in the Spanish capital is set to kick off at 21:00CET.

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