Cristiano Ronaldo has consistently been linked with a move back to Manchester United -- but Real Madrid star Mesut Ozil insists his club must hold onto the player if it is to challenge at the very top.
Ronaldo, who left United for Real in a world record $130 million deal in 2009, has been the subject of much speculation in recent months.
The 28-year-old has scored 201 goals in 199 appearances for Real and club president Florentino Perez recently stated that he expected Ronaldo to finish his career in the Spanish capital.
But the speculation refuses to disappear -- leaving Ozil hoping his Portuguese teammate stays put.
"Cristiano Ronaldo is very important to the team, just look at all the goals he has scored in the past few seasons," he told CNN.
"He's a great person off the field. I hope he can stay here for a long time because he can help us win important titles."
The loss of Ronaldo would be a huge blow to a Real side hoping to snatch the league title back from Barcelona and win its first Champions League crown since 2002.
Real has lost out at the semifinal stage in each of the past three seasons with Borussia Dortmund the last team to put paid to the Spanish club's dream of a 10th triumph in the competition.
"We have come very close to winning the Champions League in the past few years and that leaves a very bitter taste in the mouth," Ozil revealed.
"What we hope is that we can go further this season. I believe we are good enough to make the final.
"Real is the biggest club in the world and I feel privileged to have the opportunity play here.
"It's like a dream. It's true there's a great deal of pressure to win every game and every title but I actually enjoy that.
"I feel comfortable playing under pressure and thrive in those situations."
Real has been busy in the transfer market ahead of the new season as it looks to challenge both at home and abroad.
It has already spent $35 million on talented playmaker Isco and $52 million on defensive midfielder Asier Illarramendi.
The club are also reportedly interested in signing Tottenham's Gareth Bale, despite Spurs' determination to hang onto the player.
Bale's pace and power lit up the English Premier League last season with the Welshman scoring 21 goals in 33 top-flight appearances.
Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas revealed Friday that the club is currently trying to negotiate a new contract with the player.
But Real are unlikely to be deterred with Bale exactly the type of player new coach Carlo Ancelotti could utilize as he attempts to increase the tempo of Real's play.
"Ancelotti has his own football philosophy," added Ozil of the man Perez chose to succeed Jose Mourinho.
"He wants us to play quicker than before. His system is different to what we're used to but that's why friendly games are important.
"We can get used to a new way of playing. We have quick attacking players so I believe we are equipped to adopt his system successfully."
Ozil will be hoping to guarantee his own place in Ancelotti's side and the 24-year-old has been taking advice from former Real legend Zinedine Zidane.
"Zidane was one of my idols when I was growing up so it was great to have a chance to meet him at Real Madrid," Ozil added.
"He has given me some advice but I'll keep that to myself.