Real Madrid - Manchester United Preview: Ronaldo faces Red Devils for first time since record-breaking move
The 27-year-old takes on his former side in the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, where Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho renew old rivalries in a heavyweight last-16 encounter
By Husmukh Kerai
Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao
Benzema, Ozil, Ronaldo
Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra
Valencia, Rooney, Giggs
Jose Mourinho will be without club captain and first-choice goalkeeper Iker Casillas (fractured hand) and so is expected to continue with January recruit Diego Lopez for Wednesday's fixture.
Portugal centre-back Pepe returned after a month out with a substitute appearance against Sevilla on Saturday and is likely to start against Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
Angel Di Maria (thigh) is ruled out for both legs but Jose Mourinho could have Xabi Alonso back after he returned to training this week.
Sir Alex Ferguson faced two fresh injury blows after beating Everton on Sunday, as Phil Jones (thigh) and Jonny Evans (knock) were forced off in the 2-0 win at Old Trafford.
Rio Ferdinand is likely to return to partner Nemanja Vidic at centre-back, while Robin van Persie should lead the visitors' attack with Wayne Rooney deployed in a deeper midfield role.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Real Madrid have won the European Cup on a record nine occasions.
- Cristiano Ronaldo netted his 20th hat-trick for the Santiago Bernabeu side against Sevilla at the weekend, overtaking Paco Gento in the club's scoring charts.
- The Portuguese has scored over 100 goals for both clubs. He has 183 for his current side and netted 118 goals in 292 appearances for Manchester United.
- The last time the two sides met in the Champions League the tie ended 6-5 to the Spanish outfit, with Brazilian striker Ronaldo stealing the show with a hat-trick at Old Trafford.
- Jose Mourinho has never won a Champions League game at Old Trafford. Porto's progress was built on a 1-1 draw while Inter lost 2-0 at United in 2008-09.
- On the two occasions the Real Madrid boss has won the Champions League his side have knocked out English opposition in the last 16.
- All three of Van Persie’s (pictured) goals in the Champions League this season have come away from home. He is 19/10 to score anytime in the first leg with BetVictor.
The Red Devils have conceded exactly three goals in three of their four trips to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Manchester United have only won two of their 13 away Champions League games in Spain.
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Top 3 Predictions
Real Madrid 1-2 Manchester United
- 19.46 %
Real Madrid 3-1 Manchester United
- 13.44 %
Real Madrid 2-1 Manchester United
- 10.65 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||5 Mar 2013||Manchester United 1 - Real Madrid 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||13 Feb 2013||Real Madrid 1 - Manchester United 1|
|7 Dec 2013||CD Olímpic de Xàtiva 0 - Real Madrid 0||ESPC|
|30 Nov 2013||Real Madrid 4 - Valladolid 0||LIGA|
|27 Nov 2013||Real Madrid 4 - Galatasaray 1||UCL|
|23 Nov 2013||UD Almería 0 - Real Madrid 5||LIGA|
|9 Nov 2013||Real Madrid 5 - Real Sociedad 1||LIGA|
|25||Diego López Rodríguez||Goalkeeper|
|22||Ángel Di María||Midfielder|
|1||David de Gea||Goalkeeper|
|20||Robin van Persie||Striker|
All eyes will be on the Real Madrid forward as he meets his old side for the first time since his record £80 million switch from Old Trafford to Santiago Bernabeu. He netted a hat-trick in Los Blancos' last league outing but was brought off after complaining of a slight injury. The Portugal international should have plenty of motivation besides playing against his former team-mates, as Jose Mourinho realistically has all his eggs in the Champions League basket, with Barcelona runaway leaders in La Liga.
|Robin van Persie|
The Dutchman has been Manchester United's main man this season after making the move from Arsenal in the summer and has almost singlehandedly provided the goals that have helped the Red Devils carve out a 12-point gap at the top of the Premier League. While being vastly experienced in the competition, the 29-year-old has yet to show his world class form on the Champions League stage on a consistent basis. Wednesday is the perfect opportunity to show the whole of Europe what he is capable of.
The first legs of European knockout ties are usually tense affairs, with the away side content to hit the hosts on the counterattack in search of an away goal. This game should be no different, with United well aware that Mourinho's Real Madrid operate best in swift breaks. Expect the hosts to enjoy plenty of the ball in the visitors' half but they will be wary of United's goal threat with Rooney and Van Persie in attack.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed