Man United v Real Madrid: Emotions won’t affect Ronaldo, says Alonso
Man United v Real Madrid: Xabi Alonso rubbishes talk of Cristiano Ronaldo being affected by the emotion of facing his former club
Xabi Alonso says Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo will not be affected by the emotions surrounding his return to former club Manchester United on Tuesday night.
The Portugal international will line up at Old Trafford for the first time since leaving the 19-time English champions in a world-record £80m switch to Los Blancos in 2009.
Ronaldo scored a vital leveller for Madrid in a 1-1 at the Bernabeu to leave the Champions League last-16 tie finely poised ahead of the second leg at United’s ground.
And Alonso revealed the 28-year-old is relishing the chance to face his former club.
“I don’t think so,” said Alonso when asked if emotions could get the better of his team-mate. “He’s really looking forward to the game.
“Before the game I think he’ll get a great reception but once kick-off starts, he’ll just be thinking about doing the best for our team. Hopefully it will be a great night for him.
“It’s very different to play with Cristiano than against him. I’ve played against him and with him, and I’m lucky enough to say he’s on my side and I’m pleased to have him on my side.
“He’s in terrific form and he’s looking forward to it. In his mind is just to play a good game and to get through this stage.”
Man United v Real Madrid: Pre-match facts
• George Best got the only goal of the teams’ 1967-68 semi-final first leg at Old Trafford. United then battled back from 3-1 behind to draw 3-3 in Madrid and went on to lift the trophy for the first time.
• Cristiano Ronaldo scored the only goal when Madrid last won in England, 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur in the 2010-11 quarter-finals.
• Jose Mourinho has faced United twice before at this stage of the Champions League, starting with Porto’s success in the 2003-04 round of 16 en route to winning the trophy.
• Mourinho’s Inter Milan lost to United in the 2008-09 last 16. After a goalless first leg, Inter succumbed 2-0 at Old Trafford, Nemanja Vidić and Ronaldo scoring.