Manchester United and Real Madrid: two of Europe’s and in fact the World’s biggest and most glamorous clubs face off in undoubtedly the tie of the round, and perhaps even the competition.
The two have history, with Ronaldo famously switching allegiance four years ago, following Beckham and Van Nistelrooy before him. A certain Jose Mourinho also returns to face the club he usually defeats, but he returns one of Sir Alex’s biggest friends in the world of football, and a potential replacement when the great man finally calls it a day.
On paper, the two squads are barely separable. Yes the Spaniards have Cristiano Ronaldo, but Man Utd have Wayne Rooney AND Robin Van Persie. Madrid have Pepe, but Man Utd have Vidic. Madrid have Mourinho, but United have Sir Alex. What we should be looking forward to is a classic tie between two of the competition’s favourites; a tie full of goals and leaky defences; a tie with affection and love temporarily put aside; in simple terms, an absolute classic.
Here are six things that you can expect to happen over the course of two legs…
6. Wayne Rooney To Open The Scoring
Love him or hate him, Wayne Rooney is undoubtedly one of the most talented players of our generation and at 27, has more than enough experienced to be unfazed by a game of this magnitude. Wazza loves the big occasions, and has proved more than enough times that when Europe comes calling, he is the man to answer the call. Expect a tense opening in tomorrow’s first leg, before an explosion from the adopted Manc opens the scoring and silences the great Bernabeu.
Rooney is the highest scoring British player in Champions League history, with 27 goals, and interestingly, 14 of those have come in the knockout stages, giving him a rate of 52%. This rate is higher than Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and his new partner in crime, Van Persie, making him a force to be reckoned with.
Madrid know all about his qualities and he is the one player Mourinho fears above all, so expect the Scouse lad to blast this tie in to motion.
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This article was first posted on February 12, 2013