De Gea 'well studied' for World Cup battle with Ronaldo

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The Manchester United goalkeeper is preparing to face the Portuguese star in Russia and knows just what to expect

David de Gea claims to be “well studied” ahead of a World Cup clash with “one of the best in the world” Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Manchester United No. 1 will come face-to-face with the Real Madrid superstar on Friday when Spain open their Russia 2018 campaign with an Iberian derby date against Portugal.

Ronaldo poses the most obvious threat to De Gea and his international colleagues, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner coming off the back of another goal-laden club season which saw him find the target 44 times across all competitions.

Spain need no reminding of the size of the challenge they are about face, but they are well prepared for it and are determined to stamp their own authority on proceedings rather than worry about the presence of one rival.

De Gea told Marca: "The first match is always important, and more so when it is against a rival as hard and complicated as Portugal.

"We have to face the game as we did in the qualifying phase, that is, playing our own game.

"Cristiano Ronaldo is well studied, and everyone knows he's one of the best in the world.

"He also has a great team behind him, they're European champions and it will be a tough game."

De Gea heads into the World Cup on the back of a clean sheet in a 1-0 friendly victory over Tunisia.

He did, however, face criticism after making an uncharacteristic mistake in a 1-1 draw with Switzerland.

De Gea Spain

The 27-year-old had enjoyed a quiet evening against the Swiss before failing to hold a tame shot from Stephan Lichtsteiner, which allowed Ricardo Rodriguez to level.

De Gea has been around long enough to know that even players of his standing are not immune from errors and he has already put a disappointing moment behind him.

He said of the criticism he faced: "You have to know how to take it and live with it.

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"We're used to it and we accept it, because criticism is always there.

"The mistakes of a goalkeeper are very striking, as was shown against Switzerland, but better to fail in a friendly than in the World Cup.

"I am still young and it's clear that I can improve. In these matches you get more experience and that's good."