The tie of the Round of 16 has to be the match between Manchester United and Real Madrid. Although the tie would typically garner a ton of respect and TV viewers just because of the history that these two teams possess, this tie gets the added benefit of seeing one of the world’s greatest players going up against the club that he became a household name with. Cristiano Ronaldo will be going up against a United team that houses many of the players that were with him as he burst onto the world scene.
Manchester United will have the most complete scouting report available when it comes to CR7. Most of the players that will be on the pitch for Manchester will have spent a significant amount of time with the Portuguese playmaker and they will be completely aware of the danger he possesses. However, CR7 is never the same player from year to year and his talent continues to grow as he gets older. If United hope to keep Ronaldo at bay, a combo of Valencia and Raphael would probably be the best method that United have. Both are fast and can perform relatively thorough defensive duties, but even that might not be enough to hold CR7.
The worst news for United is that Ronaldo is in a deep vein of scoring form. A hat-trick against Sevilla in his last match will mean that United will face Ronaldo at a level befitting a player of his potential. The worst part is that the more focus Ronaldo is able to garner and the more United have to focus on the Portuguese winger, the more likely one of the other Madrid stars is to pop up and snag a goal for the Spanish giants.
On the flip-side, the men in Manchester United jerseys are dominating in their domestic league and they are showing all the signs of a truly dominant United squad. In their most recent fixture against Everton, Rooney looked great attacking and defending, De Gea was stopping anything and everything, and Robin Van Persie still seems to be scoring at the slightest chance.
Although I’ve never been one to grasp at phrases, we definitely seem like we are about to witness two immovable objects crashing against each other. For United, a victory over Madrid would only solidify their success this season. For Madrid, continued success in the Champions League would be the only thing to have their season be seen as a success. One thing is for certain, this titanic tie will provide some fantastic football…make sure you are watching.
Written by: Andrew McCole, guest contributor, SoccerProse.com
Recent posts in Champions League