Gareth Bale Cristiano Ronaldo Real Madrid
Real Madrid forwards Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo will be the ones expected to pierce the Shakhtar Donetsk defence in their Champions League Group A gameReuters

Cristiano Ronaldo will be the man in the spotlight when Real Madrid host Shakhtar Donetsk in their opening Champions League match of the new season on Tuesday at the Bernabeu.

Ronaldo became Real Madrid's all-time La Liga top scorer – beating out Raul and Alfredo Di Stefano -- after his ridiculous five-goal haul against Espanyol, and worryingly for Shakhtar, the Portuguese superstar will be brimming with confidence when they pay a visit to Madrid for their Group A opener.

"He's an excellent player; one of the best that I have coached, of course," Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez said of Cristiano Ronaldo. "I can't say that he's the best, because I've had some very good players, but at this moment in time he's our player and he's the best in the world.

"I wasn't lucky enough to see Alfredo Di Stefano live, but he was a winner and a fierce competitor. Raul was a fierce competitor and a winner too.

"Cristiano has the same mentality. I'll be very happy if the team wins and Ronaldo wins a lot of trophies with the team."

Real Madrid, though, will know Shakhtar will pose a stiffer test than Espanyol, but the manager will be happy with the manner in which his attacking players are gelling, with the likes of Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema all seemingly on the same page.

Benitez will also know the importance of making a winning start to the new Champions League campaign, especially considering they haven't been drawn in the easiest of groups, with PSG and Malmo also involved along with Shakhtar.

"They're [Shakhtar Donetsk are] an excellent team," Benitez said. "I said that it wasn't going to be an easy group. They have a coach with a lot of experience who gets the best out of his players.

"They have players with ability, speed and quality. If we're not focused and underestimate them, they'll be tough.

"They're a team that I'd compared with Galatasaray, a side with quality players who can make life very difficult for you when they're on their game. They're going to be very tough opponents.

"We're Real Madrid and we're playing at the Bernabeu. The challenge is to start our Champions League campaign and do so on a positive note. We'll look to put in a good performance, so as to get the win and give the fans plenty to shout about."

Shakhtar Donetsk are Champions League regulars now, and Mircea Lucescu will know, with Real Madrid expected to qualify on top, it will probably come down to his team and PSG for the second spot in Group A, even if Malmo will want to have their say as well.

"We respect all our opponents but this is a very difficult game," Lucescu was quoted as saying by UEFA's official website. "Real Madrid are a super club with top-level organisation.

"It's not good to start the competition against a team like this -- Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have an advantage in starting at home.

"We always play offensively in Ukraine but we have also proved that we can defend well. We want to show people that we are the best team in Eastern Europe."

Team news: Real Madrid will be withut Danilo and James Rodriguez, while Shakhtar Donetsk have no injury worries going into this Champions League match.

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Real Madrid vs Shakhtar Donetsk is scheduled for an 8.45 pm local time (12.15 am IST, 7.45 pm BST, 2.45 pm ET) start with live coverage in India on Ten HD. The match can also be watched via live streaming online in India (and the rest of the subcontinent) on Ten Sports Live.

Watch the match live in the UK on BT Sport Extra, while the online live stream option is on Watch BT Sport or by downloading the BT Sport app.

Audience in the US can catch Real Madrid vs Shakhtar live on Fox Sports, while the match can also be live streamed online on FoxSoccer2Go and Watch ESPN.

Viewers in Australia, France, Middle East and North African can watch the UEFA Champions League game live on Bein Sports and Bein Sports Connect. Audience in Spain can watch Real Madrid live on TV3.

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