Since the Champions League format was introduced in 1992, no side has managed to retain their European crown.

However, Real Madrid idol Cristiano Ronaldo is confident The Whites can actually pull off this difficult feat - and wants to see a good start on Wednesday at home to Sporting Lisbon, the club where he started his illustrious career back in 2002.

"Sporting mean a lot to me, it is where I started out, but now I'm wearing the colours of Real Madrid and I want to win. It will be a special match, and a privilege for me to face Sporting," he said.

"To win back-to-back Champions titles is a massive challenge for us. But Real Madrid are always one of the candidates.

"We know it is going to be very complicated but we are going to try. We will take it match by match, hoping to make a good start on Wednesday.

"It will not be an easy group, but we have to think positively: it is possible for us to win it again."

The other two rivals for Real in Group F are Borussia Dortmund and Legia Warsaw.

Ronaldo, 31, has cleverly learned how to deal with becoming a veteran. He no longer attempts those 40-metre dashes of his Sporting, Manchester United and early Real days.

Instead, he now plays as a false left-winger, cutting inside to have a shot with his right foot or to take a centre from the likes of Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal.

"He is a more limited but also more intelligent player than a few years ago," commented Madrid radio Cadena SER.

"He has learned how to ration his physical efforts, saving himself for the final few metres."

Ronaldo made a successful return from injury in Saturday's 5-2 slaughter of Osasuna, making it 1-0 by turning in a centre from Bale after just six minutes.

He is poised to extend his contract with The Whites for five more years, though he has said. "I think a 10-year extension would be more appropriate. I feel wonderful and I'm sure I can continue playing until 40 at least."

He has won the Champions League three times: 2008 with United, and 2014 and 2016 with Real. Ronaldo is the all-time leading Champions League scorer with 94 goals and has the sixth-most appearances with 131 games.

Last season with very special for him, he says, with not only Real winning their 11th Champions but also with his beloved Portugal prevailing at Euro 2016 against all the odds.

"In terms of title it was possibly the best season of my career. I have never enjoyed a better season."

Not since 1960 have Real succesfully managed to defend their European crown. Indeed, they have never reach the final when defending champions.

However, this year might be different - if Ronaldo manages to continue holding back they years.

Related stories

Ronaldo wins Europe best player award

Bayern Munich Self-Destructed Against Real Madrid

Real Madrid extend contract of forward Bale to 2022

Real celebrate title win in Madrid

Real Madrid begin with 3-0 win at Real Sociedad

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.