This coming Wednesday Spanish giants Real Madrid will host Manchester United in what will be an epic encounter. The last time these two teams met in the knockout phase was back in 2003, when Real Madrid knocked the current English champions out of Europe 6-5, and Sir Alex Ferguson will be keen not to repeat that score.
When Sir Alex and his Manchester side travel to the Bernabeu they will no doubt be hoping to come away with a reasonable score in order to secure a place in the next phase when they host the second-leg at Old Trafford.
Over the two legs Manchester United will have to face other world class players who play in entirely different way to United’s weekly Premier League sides, and this fixture will be a test of Sir Alex’s ability to prepare his team for that difference. But no matter what the preparation, United will face a very strong Madrid side – regardless of their stuttering league form - and his team will need to be wary of Madrid’s biggest threasts.
With that in mind, here is a list of five players who Ferguson and his team should fear.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is by far the most talked about individual going into this game due to his history with Manchester United. After a record-breaking move to Real Madrid back in 2009, this will be the first time Ronaldo faces his old club and old manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, and if he is allowed to play, or finds his top form, he will be in with a good chance of winning.
Ronaldo has scored 182 goals in 179 games for Real Madrid since joining Los Blancosand is a serious threat to Manchester United’s chances of progressing through to the next phase. In short, he must be stopped.
Madrid’s number seven is one of the strongest threats to Manchester United and could easily cut through their defence and score if the likes of Rafael and Nemanja Vidic give him half a chance. The 28-year-old, known for his world class free-kicks is a threat from all areas of the field and if United do give Madrid a free-kick in a dangerous area, they could live to regret it.
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This article was first posted on February 12, 2013