Ronaldo: I'd rather Real were facing Man Utd

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The Portuguese is readying himself for a Champions League final clash with Liverpool, but had been hoping to face former employers from Old Trafford

Cristiano Ronaldo is preparing to lead Real Madrid in a Champions League final clash with Liverpool but would have preferred to be facing Manchester United.

The Portuguese superstar has helped to fire the Blancos near a third successive European crown, with Zinedine Zidane’s side having dominated continental competition in recent years.

Ronaldo has remained a talismanic presence throughout a period of unprecedented success in the modern era, with the 33-year-old once again leading the scoring charts this term with 15 efforts.

He will be hoping to add to that tally against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side, but had been hoping to line up against his former employers at Old Trafford after reaching another showpiece event.

Ronaldo told reporters at Madrid’s open media day: “Finals are always special occasions: I would have preferred it to be Manchester United.

“But Liverpool deserve respect. We’re not going to have it easy. They deserve to be in the final.

“They remind me of Madrid three or four years ago. Their three front players, they’re very quick… they are powerful in attack and I respect them. But Madrid are better. We have to play to our level, but we also have to respect the opposition.”

Ronaldo is looking to taste Champions League glory for the fifth time in his career – having opened his account with United before adding three crowns with Madrid – and he maintains that collective glory means more to him than individual landmarks.

He added: “It would be an historic moment. We are excited as a team. You can see it around the training ground: we’re not conscious of how historic it would be because everybody is completely focused on the game.

“But, afterwards, if everything goes well, we will enter into the history books.

Cristiano Ronaldo preferred Manchester United Champions League final

“You always have to be motivated. You can’t relax at this club, particularly in this competition.

“The Champions League has been synonymous with Real Madrid since Gento and Di Stefano. We sense it as players and the fans do as well.

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“I want to [do] well on Saturday, to help the team, play well and hopefully score goals. But the most important thing is to win and go down in history.”

Ronaldo had seen his participation in the 2018 Champions League final called into question after picking up an ankle injury during a Clasico clash with Barcelona on May 6, but he was back in action and back among the goals against Villarreal on Saturday and is raring to go.

He added: “I’m confident, I’m feeling fit and I can see my teammates are all geared up. If I win a fifth it would be amazing.”

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