Friday 23 February 2018

Ronaldo relishing prospect of facing United 'friends' in final

Sam Wallace

For many Manchester United fans it would be potentially the most painful reacquaintance with one of the club's old boys since Denis Law in 1974, but Cristiano Ronaldo has said that he would like to face his former team-mates in the Champions League final.

The 26-year-old, who left United for Real Madrid for £80m in the summer of 2009, will first have to get past Barcelona in the semi-finals. But after his goal gave Real a 5-0 aggregate win over Tottenham on Wednesday, Ronaldo said that he hoped United would beat Schalke 04 in their semi-final to set up a final against Real.

"If you ask me now if I want to sign up to play for Real Madrid against Manchester United in the final at Wembley, then of course I will," Ronaldo said.

"That would make me very, very happy. I've still got a lot of friends there, memories and I'd love that to happen. (But) I cannot think about playing Manchester United in the Champions League yet.

"We are playing against one of the best teams in the world in Barcelona first and we have to be fully concentrated on beating them. We have two very, very difficult games against Barcelona to come so the final seems a very long way in the future. We have to think about Barca first."

Ronaldo insisted that his Real team -- who will play Barcelona five times before the end of the season in the Champions League, league and Spanish Cup -- had improved since their 5-0 drubbing at the Nou Camp in November.

"I don't like the word revenge. But it's a big game for the players, the supporters and for all people all over the world," he added.

"At the moment, we are the best two teams in the world. It will make everyone in the world sit up and watch the game.

"We have improved and we have to believe we can do it."

Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes has owned up to his error that led to Ronaldo's goal in the 1-0 defeat at White Hart Lane on Wednesday -- but warned that it may happen again.

He said: "I think if I pushed the ball away it would have been different but I tried to stop the ball two times.

"The ball moved a little bit but it was a mistake and I accept it. This was not my first one and I hope that it will be my last one, but I know it will not be the last one in my career. I need to show character like I did before." (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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