Tag Archives: bernabeu

Galatasaray 3 Real Madrid 2 (Agg 3-5): Match Report: Didier Drogba gives Jose Mourinho a scare

Galatasaray 3 Real Madrid 2 (Agg 3-5): Drogba and Sneijder give Jose a scare as Spaniards make the semis

PUBLISHED:

20:42 GMT, 9 April 2013

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 9 April 2013

Real Madrid progressed to the last four of the Champions League despite defeat on the night to a Galatasaray side whose second half comeback had Jose Mourinho's side in a panic.

Already three goals up from the first leg at the Bernabeu, the tie was seemingly put to bed by Cristiano Ronaldo's seventh-minute strike.

But an Emmanuel Eboue thunderbolt after 57 minutes brought Gala back level on the night, before Wesley Sneijder put the home side ahead after 70 minutes.

It's a Drogs life: Didier Drogba scored as Galatasaray won the second leg

It's a Drogs life: Didier Drogba scored as Galatasaray won the second leg

MATCH FACTS

Galatasaray: Muslera, Eboue (Elmander 80), Zan, Kaya, Riera, Altintop (Amrabat 46), Felipe Melo, Inan, Sneijder, Bulut (Sarioglu 63), Drogba.

Subs Not Used: Iscan, Aydin Yilmaz, Balta, Kurtulus.

Booked: Sneijder, Eboue, Amrabat.

Goals: Eboue 57, Sneijder 71, Drogba 72.

Real Madrid: Diego Lopez, Essien (Arbeloa 31), Pepe, Varane, Fabio Coentrao, Khedira, Modric, Di Maria, Ozil (Albiol 81), Ronaldo, Higuain (Benzema 73).

Subs Not Used: Casillas, Marcelo, Callejon, Morata.

Sent Off: Arbeloa (90).

Booked: Arbeloa.

Goals: Ronaldo 8, 90.

Attendnace: 52,000

Referee: Stephane Lannoy (France)

Seconds later Did Drogba reduced the aggregate deficit further and although Real substitute Alvaro Arbeloa saw red late on, Ronaldo notched his second in injury time, as Madrid's quest for a 10th European Cup continued.

The visitors started quickly and just three minutes were on the clock when Fernando Muslera rashly came out to clear, his effort falling to Angel Di Maria, who shot wide.

Four minutes later they were on the scoresheet. Sami Khedira was allowed to cross from the right and in came Ronaldo, who got to the ball before the home defender to shoot past a helpless Muslera from three yards out.

The tie looked finished as a contest and Ronaldo could have doubled his night's tally moments later when the home side backed off, but from 25 yards the Portuguese shot straight at Muslera.

Drogba went close to converting a Sneijder shot after 20 minutes in Gala's first meaningful attack, before Madrid almost went two-up.

A delicious back-heel pass from Ronaldo played in Di Maria, but his angled effort was well tipped over by the Gala stopper.

Keeping the dream alive: Drogba celebrates after making it 3-1 on the night

Keeping the dream alive: Drogba celebrates after making it 3-1 on the night

All going wrong: Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain react after conceding their third goal

All going wrong: Cristiano Ronaldo and Gonzalo Higuain react after conceding their third goal

Mourinho was forced into his first change after 31 minutes when Michael Essien had to be replaced by Arbeloa due to a leg injury.

Sneijder forced Diego Lopez into his first save after 38 minutes in what was a lacklustre first-half display from the hosts.
Madrid missed another chance to go two up 11 minutes after the restart when Ronaldo somehow missed from eight yards out – scuffing his effort with the ball trapped under his feet.Moments later and the home side were level thanks to a tremendous goal, albeit from an unlikely source. Sneijder's hopeful cutback found a sprinting Eboue who from the edge of the box powered an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

And just three minutes later they should have gone ahead. Drogba's strength caused all sorts of problems for the Real defence with the ball falling to Sneijder.

However with just Lopez to beat and from 12 yards out he screwed his shot wide of the far post.
Eboue's goal had, however, galvanised the home side and with the Ataturk Stadium firmly behind their side Gala took a deserved lead.

Sneijder showed a turn of pace more associated with his best days at Inter, nutmegged Rafael Varane before side-footing into the corner.

And moments later it was 3-1 when Drogba got in front of his defender to flick a cross into the corner of the net.

Raul Albiol replaced Mesut Ozil as Mourinho looked to arrest his team's slide, but they had to play out the final moments with 10 men after Arbeloa saw red after receiving a second yellow card for dissent.

There was still time for a fifth goal on the night when Ronaldo scored in injury time.

Cristiano Ronaldo meets Diego Maradona after Real Madrid v Barcelona

Watch out United! Madrid star Ronaldo picks up some tips from Maradona ahead of Champions League clash

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

13:28 GMT, 3 March 2013

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UPDATED:

16:14 GMT, 3 March 2013


Big guns: Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Maradona

Big guns: Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Maradona

Two of the world's finest players met as Real Madrid beat Barcelona in Saturday's Clasico.

Cristiano Ronaldo was one, of course, but his rival Lionel Messi was not the other. No, it was a different Argentina legend – Diego Maradona.

Perhaps Maradona was giving Ronaldo some advice ahead of Madrid's Champions League clash against Manchester United on Tuesday.

He might need it, after Gary Pallister claimed Ronaldo could choke on his return to Old Trafford.

The Portuguese forward left Manchester United for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, becoming the most expensive player in football history at 80million.

The teams go in to the second leg of their Champions League last 16 clash poised at 1-1.

Ronaldo, who posted the picture of
himself with Maradona on Twitter, scored a brilliant header for
Jose Mourinho's side in the first leg.

He came on as a second-half substitute for Kaka in the Clasico as Mourinho opted to give him a rest.

‘It will be interesting to see how
Cristiano handles it because it’s always a bit weird going back to an
old club,' Pallister told The Daily Star Sunday.

‘I remember when I went back to Middlesbrough for the first time in a United shirt, just how weird it all felt.

‘The occasion could get to Ronaldo. Let’s hope it does.’

Watching on: Maradona at the Bernabeu with girlfriend Rocio Geraldine Oliva

Watching on: Maradona at the Bernabeu with girlfriend Rocio Geraldine Oliva

Watching on: Maradona at the Bernabeu with girlfriend Rocio Geraldine Oliva

Hope: Gary Pallister (left) says Ronaldo could choke

Hope: Gary Pallister (left) says Ronaldo could choke

After beating Barcelona for the second
time in a week courtesy of their 2-1 on Saturday, Real will fly to England and prepare for the
game at the home of United's rivals, Manchester City.

Mourinho opted for the Etihad Stadium ahead of Old Trafford, perhaps out of fear of being spied on.

He also does not want to use the Old Trafford pitch because it is in bad shape and he does not want to make it worse for the game against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

LIVE: Manchester United v Norwich, Chelsea v West Brom, Everton v Reading, Southampton v QPR, Stoke v West Ham, Swansea v Newcastle, Sunderland v…

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Follow the action from around the grounds as it happens

By
Dan Ripley

PUBLISHED:

04:00 GMT, 2 March 2013

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UPDATED:

14:18 GMT, 2 March 2013

Live scores (3pm)

Click here for the live goals as they go in

Chelsea v West Brom

Everton v Reading

Manchester United v Norwich

Southampton v QPR

Stoke v West Ham

Sunderland v Fulham

Swansea v Newcastle

Click here for the live Premier League table

All the latest from the Championship

All the latest from League One

All the latest from League Two

All the latest from the SPL

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Manchester United host Norwich in one of seven games kicking off at 3pm. The league leaders will hope to avenge their defeat at Carrow Road from earlier this season when Chris Hughton's side recorded a 1-0 win.

Elsewhere Chelsea know a win against West Brom at Stamford Bridge will take them back up into third place while Everton will hope to keep up their chances of qualifying for the Champions League at Goodison Park against Reading.

Down near the bottom of the table, Southampton can build a 13-point gap over rock bottom QPR at St Mary's and Newcastle will look to build on recent good form when they visit Capital One Cup winners Swansea.

Trying to avoid getting sucked into a relegation fight, West Ham will hope to improve on a poor away record when they visit Stoke and Sunderland host Fulham with the Cottagers in with a chance of moving into the top 10.

Send me your thoughts on the action at [email protected] or via Twitter @Ripinho.

14.10: It's not every weekend we have a double serving of games at 3pm, but as a little bonus click here to follow live coverage of Real Madrid v Barcelona from the Bernabeu in La Liga.

14.05: Well that's a bad start to the weekend – Ryan Giggs is not even in the Manchester United squad!

With that in mind, let's take a huge contrast and focus on West Brom's Izzy Brown. The midfielder (who is still at school) could become the youngest Premier League player this afternoon at 16 years and 54 days old (he is in the Baggies squad at least.)

14.00: We are set to see a few extraordinary things this weekend. As ever the north London derby will be one of them but arguably the most impressive is set to be Ryan Giggs' 1000th senior game.

Team news is coming up for all seven matches, let's hope the Welshman make an appearance at some point.

Milestone man: Manchester United's Ryan Giggs is poised to make his 1000th senior appearance

Milestone man: Manchester United's Ryan Giggs is poised to make his 1000th senior appearance

Jose Mourinho admits he would be interested in managing in France at PSG

Why not France! Mourinho issues come and get me plea to French giants Paris Saint-Germain

By
Aidan Mccartney

PUBLISHED:

19:39 GMT, 17 February 2013

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UPDATED:

20:02 GMT, 17 February 2013

Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has today admitted he would be interested in coaching in France, opening up the possibility of summer switch to PSG as Carlo Ancelotti's replacement.

PSG, who boast some of the richest owners in world football, would be an attractive option to the Portuguese boss as he looks to increase his domination of Europe after winning titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain.

When asked whether he would be interested in managing in France, Mourinho told Canal +: 'It's a possibility but I do not know when. I can not say when. Why not!'

France bound Mourinho could leave Madrid for the French capital in the summer

France bound Mourinho could leave Madrid for the French capital in the summer

Mourinho faces an increasingly uncertain future at the Bernabeu as Real struggle to close the 19-point gap on rivals Barcelona and after another disappointing performance from his team in midweek against Manchester United in the Champions League.

Reports in Spain suggest that he is at odds with several key members of the playing staff and club directors which could spell a swift end to his time in Spain.

The 49-year-old has been linked with a return to England with either former club Chelsea or champions Manchester City but ambitious PSG could move to the top of the pile.

Wanted: Mourinho remains a popular figure at Chelsea, and could return there after snubbing PSG

Wanted: Mourinho remains a popular figure at Chelsea, but a return looks unlikely

The French league leaders have been relatively disappointing despite a lavish summer spending spree which saw star names Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi being brought to the club by Ancelotti and director of football Leonardo.

Real Madrid are in action tonight against Real Vallecano as Mourinho's side try to keep pace with second place Atletico Madrid in the pursuit for guaranteed Champions League football next season.

Paul Scholes out for two weeks for Manchester United

Manchester United's veteran midfielder Scholes sidelined for further two weeks

By
Chris Wheeler

PUBLISHED:

09:58 GMT, 15 February 2013

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UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 15 February 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Paul Scholes will be out for another two weeks with the knee injury that has disrupted his season.

The veteran Manchester United midfielder has not played since the FA Cup fourth round win over Fulham in January as United try to get to the bottom of the problem.

Now he will miss Monday’s fifth round tie at home to Reading as well as the upcoming Premier League games against QPR and Norwich.

Out: Paul Scholes was in training with Manchester United ahead of their trip to Real Madrid

Out: Paul Scholes was in training with Manchester United ahead of their trip to Real Madrid

Ferguson, who admitted recently that he
has not yet opened talks with Scholes, 38, over the possibility of
playing on next season, said: ‘This knee injury has just been bothering
him a bit but we’ve trying another treatment on it over the weekend and
probably another couple of weeks he’ll be back.’

The Scot may be able to call upon Scholes for the home leg against Real on Tuesday, March 5.

Otherwise, Ferguson confirmed his
squad had come through their midweek exertions without a problem, but
that there would be changes to his starting line-up against Brian
McDermott's progressive team.

Praised: David de Gea was lauded by Sir Alex Ferguson for his performance against Real Madrid

Praised: David de Gea was lauded by Sir Alex Ferguson for his performance against Real Madrid

One giant leap: De Gea was beaten by an unstoppable Cristiano Ronaldo header at the Santiago Bernabeu

One giant leap: De Gea was beaten by an unstoppable Cristiano Ronaldo header at the Santiago Bernabeu

Young starter: Gianluigi Buffon (right) broke into the Juventus first team at a young age

Young starter: Gianluigi Buffon (right) broke into the Juventus first team at a young age

Me too: Petr Cech (left) was signed by Chelsea in 2004

Me too: Petr Cech (left) was signed by Chelsea in 2004

'I will make some,' he said.

'We want to get to the quarter-finals and we do expect to qualify.'

Ferguson also had words of praise for
David de Gea, who produced possibly his best performance for United in
the 1-1 Bernabeu draw with a string of fine saves.

'He is maturing,' said Ferguson.

'Very few goalkeepers go into the
first team at 20. Gianluigi Buffon and Petr Cech are two examples of
those who did but it is not always the case.

'Peter Schmeichel didn't join us until he was 27, and he gave us eight great years.'

Focused: Sir Alex Ferguson (left) stands next to Jose Mourinho (right) on Wednesday evening

Focused: Sir Alex Ferguson (left) stands next to Jose Mourinho (right) on Wednesday evening

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Sir Alex Ferguson hails David de Gea after Champions League draw against Real Madrid

The Real Hero! Fergie hails saviour De Gea as Welbeck gives United edge

By
Neil Ashton

PUBLISHED:

02:21 GMT, 14 February 2013

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UPDATED:

09:23 GMT, 14 February 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson hailed David de Gea's Champions League heroics in the Bernabeu.

The under-fire Spanish goalkeeper was outstanding as Manchester United, who took the lead through Danny Welbeck, escaped with a draw after Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning equaliser.

Ferguson said: ‘De Gea has been improving all season and he even got a touch on the shot from Coentrao in the first half when he put it on to the post.

Anything will do: David de Gea flung himself at everything to keep Real Madrid largely at bay

Anything will do: David de Gea flung himself at everything to keep Real Madrid largely at bay

Anything will do: David de Gea flung himself at everything to keep Real Madrid largely at bay

Anything will do: David de Gea flung himself at everything to keep Real Madrid largely at bay

'He was excellent and made three or
four top saves. He was coming back to Madrid after his career with
Atletico, so to perform like that against Real …’

Real had 28 attempts on De Gea’s goal
in the first leg of this last-16 tie but they were unable to convert
their chances on a frustrating night for Jose Mourinho’s team.

Ferguson added: ‘The tie is 50-50 and
I would say whoever scores first in three weeks’ time will have a good
chance of going through. We made chances and hopefully we won’t regret
missing them.

‘Real are a fantastic
counter-attacking team, but we will be more positive in terms of
selection. We have goals in our team, don’t forget that.’

Re-United: Sir Alex Ferguson embraces his former protegee at the final whistle

Re-United: Sir Alex Ferguson embraces his former protegee at the final whistle

United took the lead when Welbeck scored only his second goal of the season before Ronaldo hit back with a stunning header.

Ferguson added: ‘It reminded me of
his goal against Roma in the quarter-final in 2009 because that also had
unbelievable spring and power.

‘No player can do that – not even
Messi. Cristiano’s a special talent and it’s nice that he came into the
dressing-room after the game to see his old team-mates.’

Ronaldo, who has scored seven times
in the Champions League this season, added: ‘I did not want to celebrate
the goal out of respect, as I played there for six years. I grew up
there. They welcomed me when I was a child and it’s very special to play
against them.’

On target: Danny Welbeck gives United something take back to Old Trafford

On target: Danny Welbeck gives United something take back to Old Trafford

He will see them again on March 5 when United host Real in the second leg at Old Trafford.

Mourinho, who hugged United legend
Paddy Crerand at the end of the post-match press conference, said: ‘They
came here to defend and not to concede goals or space. They didn’t play
to win.

'We have players of great potential
and we can score goals. I don’t feel pressure. At Old Trafford we have
the perfect conditions to win.’

VIDEO He was excellent, some top saves. Fergie hails De Gea

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Real Madrid 1 Manchester United 1: match report

Real Madrid 1 Man United 1: Ronaldo on target against old club after Welbeck opener but De Gea is the hero for Ferguson's side

PUBLISHED:

21:36 GMT, 13 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:43 GMT, 13 February 2013

Manchester United hold the advantage over Real Madrid in their two-legged Champions League showdown following a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

Danny Welbeck handed the Barclays Premier League side the lead after heading home a Wayne Rooney corner with 20 minutes of the last-16 tie gone.

But Real Madrid were level only nine minutes later when Cristiano Ronaldo leapt above former United team-mate Patrice Evra to score a well-executed header.

Hang time: Cristiano Ronaldo scored against his former club with a well-executed header past David De Gea

Hang time: Cristiano Ronaldo scored against his former club with a well-executed header past David De Gea

Hang time: Cristiano Ronaldo scored against his former club with a well-executed header past David De Gea

Sir Alex Ferguson selected an attacking side, with Robin van Persie spearheading a front three of Rooney and Welbeck.

But after an even first half, the
away side found themselves on the back foot following the interval with
United goalkeeper David de Gea making a number of strong saves to keep
the tie level.

Hero: Manchester United stopper David de Gea turned in a fantastic display to keep the tie level

Hero: Manchester United stopper David de Gea turned in a fantastic display to keep the tie level

That said United had chances to win
the match. Van Persie hit the frame of the Real Madrid goal after 71
minutes before fluffing his lines with a mishit just moments later.

Ferguson will however, be the happier of the two managers ahead of the return leg at Old Trafford on March 5.

More follows…

Head boy: Danny Welbeck scored the opening goal of the game from a Wayne Rooney corner

Head boy: Danny Welbeck scored the opening goal of the game from a Wayne Rooney corner

Danny Welbeck

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Making his point: Sir Alex Ferguson selected an attacking line-up to face the Spanish giants

Making his point: Sir Alex Ferguson selected an attacking line-up to face the Spanish giants

Tough to watch: Jose Mourinho cut an animated figure on the touchline during the last-16 clash

Tough to watch: Jose Mourinho cut an animated figure on the touchline during the last-16 clash

Battle: Robin van Persie holds off the challenge from Alvaro Arbeloa as Fabio Coentrao slides in on Wayne Rooney (below)

Battle: Robin van Persie holds off the challenge from Alvaro Arbeloa as Fabio Coentrao slides in on Wayne Rooney (below)

Battle: Robin van Persie holds off the challenge from Alvaro Arbeloa as Fabio Coentrao slides in on Wayne Rooney (below)

It had to be him: Ronaldo is mobbed by his Real Madrid team-mates after scoring for the hosts

It had to be him: Ronaldo is mobbed by his Real Madrid team-mates after scoring for the hosts

Rolling back the years: Real Madrid 3 Leeds 2; March 6, 2001

Danny Welbeck is the first Englishman to score for a Premier League side at the Bernabeu since Alan Smith in 2001.

Smith (below), playing for Leeds at the time, scored the opening goal of the game but the English team eventually lost the tie 3-2 following a brace from Raul and a solo strike by Luis Figo.

On target: Alan Smith

Sir Alex Ferguson calls Ryan Giggs a "fantastic human being"

'He is just a fantastic human being': Ferguson heaps praise on veteran Giggs

By
Simon Stone, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

09:24 GMT, 11 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:33 GMT, 11 February 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson has run out of things to say about long-serving Manchester United star Ryan Giggs.

The veteran Welshman opened the scoring in yesterday's 2-0 win over Everton, with Robin van Persie adding the second as United went 12 points clear of Manchester City in the title race.

It means Giggs has extended his record of scoring in every Premier League season. And, including the two Football League campaigns he was involved in before the big switch in 1992, the 39-year-old now has 23 unbroken years of league goals behind him.

Giggs took Manchester United ahead when they faced Everton at the weekend

Opener: Giggs took Manchester United ahead when they faced Everton at the weekend

Ferguson labelled his midfielder a 'fantastic human being'

High praise: Ferguson labelled his midfielder a 'fantastic human being'

The milestone is yet another in a staggering career, quite unparalleled in the modern-day game.

And Ferguson admits he does not know how much more he can say about Giggs' talent.

'I think the superlatives have all been used up,' said the United boss.

'I don't think he needs any himself.

'His legacy lives on he is just a fantastic human being.

'Again at 38, or is he 39, maybe even 40 he is up and down that pitch all day.

'He has fantastic energy for the game. It is wonderful to see.'

Giggs' contribution means he probably will not be part of United's starting line-up in Madrid on Wednesday.

Giggs has now scored in every Premier League season

Extended record: Giggs has now scored in every Premier League season

Yet, in a sense, the encounter with Everton was of infinitely more value than a meeting with Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo at the Bernabeu.

After all, for all the glitz and glamour, United and Madrid are only playing for a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

United's win over Everton put them 12 points clear at the top of the table

Safe gap: United's win over Everton put them 12 points clear at the top of the table

Once Manchester City had lost at Southampton, yesterday's game almost turned into a title-decider for United.

'As soon as I saw the result at Southampton I thought this was an opportunity for us to get a real comfortable lead,' said Ferguson.

'I scrapped the changes I originally planned to make.

'I was going to make about seven changes but it was about being realistic.

'We knew if we could get a result then it put us in a fantastic position and we can make changes later on in the season.'

That pre-supposes United do make it past Madrid, whose coach Mourinho met Ferguson ahead of yesterday's game and watched on from the directors' box.

However, after losing the title to City last term, there has been a keen desire for the Red Devils to regain their superiority.

And Everton boss David Moyes is not alone in believing that is what will happen.

'I think 12 points against a club like Manchester United is a big gap to make up,' said Moyes.

'Football doesn't always go the way it is meant to be but it looks a lot.

'To be that amount of points ahead is a big thing at this time of the season.'

Jose Mourinho: The world is waiting for Manchester United versus Real Madrid

'The match the world is waiting for'… Mourinho knows all eyes will be on Manchester United versus Real Madrid

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

20:40 GMT, 10 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

03:21 GMT, 11 February 2013

Jose Mourinho has claimed this week's Champions League showdown between Real Madrid and Manchester United is the 'match the world is waiting for'.

United head to the Bernabeu for the first leg on Wednesday, before the tie is decided at Old Trafford three weeks later.

The only certainty will be one of the heavyweights getting knocked out at the end, with Cristiano Ronaldo pitted against his old club in a mouthwatering duel.

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Returning idol: Cristiano Ronaldo will play at Old Trafford for the first time since his 2009 departure

'It is the match the world is waiting for,' Mourinho told MUTV.

'People think we are under pressure because a big team will be out.

'But it is the kind of match we want and the people are not waiting for any other game.

Eager: Mourinho was at Old Trafford to scout Real's opponents

Eager: Mourinho was at Old Trafford to scout Real's opponents

'I hope we give them what they want.'

After Ronaldo bagged yet another hat-trick in Real's win over Seville last night, Mourinho flew into Manchester today to watch United overcome Everton at Old Trafford.

And, despite the impending battle, Mourinho was welcomed into Sir Alex Ferguson's inner sanctum prior to the 2-0 win, a sign of just how much affection the pair hold for each other.

Rivals: But there is a great mutual respect between Ferguson and Mourinho

Rivals: But there is a great mutual respect between Ferguson and Mourinho

'I feel privileged about that because he is such an important person in the world of football and, more importantly, he is good person,' said Mourinho.

'I have always had a fantastic relationship with him and I am proud of it.

'We have had so many matches between us which started with Porto. We had some with Chelsea, Inter and now Real. Some I had won, some I have lost, others I have drawn.

Hat-trick hero: Ronaldo stole the show last time the two sides met in the Champions League

Hat-trick hero: Ronaldo stole the show last time the two sides met in the Champions League

'Of course, I want to win and he wants to win, but I believe the loser will have a little bit of space to feel a little bit happy because of the friendship.

'But make no mistake, I want to win.'

Real Madrid v Manchester United: Ruud van Nistelrooy says match will be decided by Cristiano Ronaldo or Robin van Persie

United v Real No, it's Ronaldo against Van Persie, insists legend Van Nistelrooy

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

16:57 GMT, 8 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:25 GMT, 8 February 2013

Ruud van Nistelrooy believes the respective performances of Robin van Persie and Cristiano Ronaldo will be key to the outcome of the Champions League last-16 showdown between his former clubs Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Van Nistelrooy, who spent five years at United before moving to Madrid in 2006 for a four-year spell at the Bernabeu, finds it impossible to pick a favourite between the two European superpowers and believes the tie will be settled by the 'smallest details'.

To that end he has singled out United hitman Van Persie and Madrid's former Old Trafford forward Ronaldo as the deciding factors.

Star man: Cristiano Ronaldo

Deadly: Robin van Persie

Star men: Cristiano Ronaldo (left) or Robin van Persie could decide the Champions League tie

'For me the difference will be the form of Cristiano and Van Persie. I think that one of these two players will make the difference,' Van Nistelrooy told Marca.

'Both teams are doing very well. I think Madrid have improved a lot in recent weeks. Taking away the Granada game (1-0 loss) I see a strong team, who played very well against Barca and who show their best in the big games.

'I think the tie will be decided by the smallest details.'

Split loyalty Ruud van Nistelrooy left Manchester United for Real Madrid in 2006

Split loyalty Ruud van Nistelrooy left Manchester United for Real Madrid in 2006

Split loyalty Ruud van Nistelrooy left Manchester United for Real Madrid in 2006

What about me Wayne Rooney, who scored for England this week, has found a run of form

What about me Wayne Rooney, who scored for England this week, has found a run of form

The 36-year-old Dutchman feels Madrid, who are looking for a record 10th European Cup crown, boast more quality than Sir Alex Ferguson's side but has warned the Spanish giants that United's 'lethal' strikeforce of Van Persie and Wayne Rooney will take some stopping.

'I think they (Madrid) have more quality on the pitch. But United win and win every week. They trail 2-0 and fight back, they go 1-0 up and control the game.

'United are very much a team. They defend all together and then play for Van Persie and Rooney.

'Madrid, due to injuries, have not been able to create such a solid group and be able to repeat the same team every week.

'Pepe and Marcelo have been injured, (Gonzalo) Higuain and (Karim) Benzema haven't been doing well, (Angel) Di Maria doesn't always play…The injury to Iker (Casillas) doesn't help either because he's always there and very experienced.

Clinical: Ronaldo has an incredible scoring record for Real Madrid, who he joined for 82million from Manchester United

Clinical: Ronaldo has an incredible scoring record for Real Madrid, who he joined for 82million from Manchester United

The difference: Both Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini believe the addition of Van Persie has propelled United to the top

The difference: Both Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini believe the addition of Van Persie has propelled United to the top

'It will be a very interesting game.'

Asked what Madrid need to fear, Van Nistelrooy said: 'United don't need many chances to score. Give one to Van Persie and Rooney and it's going in. They don't miss. And the problem is that they always create something.

'They are a lethal pair.'

The first leg takes place at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Returning hero: Ronaldo will play against his former club for the first time since leaving in 2009

Returning hero: Ronaldo will play against his former club for the first time since leaving in 2009