Cristiano Ronaldo has been branded “a machine” by Jerome Boateng as the Bayern Munich defender attempts to come up with a way of containing the Real Madrid superstar in Champions League competition.
Two sides that have crossed paths in European action on a regular basis down the years are set to lock horns once again at the semi-final stage of this season’s event.
Keeping Ronaldo quiet will be crucial to Bayern’s hopes of prolonging their 2017-18 adventure, with the Portuguese having been a serious thorn in their side during previous encounters.
Boateng is aware that denying the Portuguese superstar any sight of goals is an almost impossible task, but he does believe that the 33-year-old frontman can be prevented from making a telling contribution if the German champions work as a collective.
The World Cup-winning centre-half told Kicker: "We can only stop Cristiano Ronaldo as a team.
"In front of goal, he's like a machine. You can't shut him out completely, he always gets his chances in a game because of the lines he runs and his excellent timing.
"Real base their game around him and it's important we give him as little room as possible."
Ronaldo was at his talismanic best the last time Bayern faced Madrid, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner netting five of Real’s goals in a 6-3 aggregate quarter-final success.
He also netted twice during a semi-final clash in 2014 and bagged a brace in another last-four encounter back in 2012.
The size of the challenge facing Bayern is not lost on Germany international Boateng, who has faced Ronaldo with club and country in the past, with Real boasting plenty of other potential match-winners in their ranks.
He added: "There is a no more complete striker than Ronaldo. Left foot, right foot, header - he is in perfect control of everything he does.
"I went through only once against him with Bayern, but twice we have gone out.
"He also has the best team-mates at Real. Shutting him out is only 50 per cent of it, the other players are simply too good for that at this level."
Bayern will welcome Real to the Allianz Arena for the first leg of their latest encounter on Wednesday, with the return date set to be staged in Madrid on May 1.