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Evra: Time to restore United's European reputation

ESPN staff
February 12, 2013 « Benitez: Europa League success key for Chelsea | Chartbeat test »

Patrice Evra believes Manchester United can rebuild their reputation in Europe by knocking Real Madrid out of the Champions League.

United have reached the final of the continent's premier club competition three times in the last five years and were European champions for the third time in 2008.

But they crashed out of the Champions League at the group stage last season and left-back Evra believes their clash with Jose Mourinho's team is a chance to make amends for that early exit.

He told Inside United: "Don't forget, last year we were knocked out in the first stage of the Champions League and maybe people have that image of Manchester United in Europe. We have to change that.

"That's why I think this is the perfect year to show who we really are. We can't miss this opportunity to show ourselves, it would be a massive disappointment."

The France international said the first leg at the Bernabeu is a dream match for him.

"Lots of people think it brings a lot of pressure to play in this kind of game. No way," he said. "You can't concentrate on pressure. Everyone dreams of playing in games like this."

The tie is United's first reunion with Cristiano Ronaldo since his £80 million move to Real Madrid in 2009. And Evra, a team-mate of Ronaldo's for three-and-a-half years, praised the Portuguese for his impact at Old Trafford.

"We have already been texting each other. I hope he will get a great ovation from our fans because what he did for United was unbelievable. I miss him too."

If Ronaldo plays on the right wing for Real Madrid, he will be up against Evra, and if he is on the other wing, Rafael da Silva will have the responsibility of stopping the player the Frenchman believes is the best on the planet.

"We have played against Ronny many times in training, and me and Rafa know what he can do. He is a top-class player," Evra said. "For me, he is the best player in the world.

"He will be a tough opponent but we have to make sure we are friends out of the pitch, and enemies on it! It will be emotional for Ronny because he loves Manchester United. I hope the emotion will get to him. That will be perfect for us."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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