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United players told not to fixate on Ronaldo

ESPN staff
March 4, 2013 « Newcastle captain out of Anzhi clash | Chartbeat test »

Sir Alex Ferguson has told Manchester United not to be afraid of Cristiano Ronaldo as the former World Player of the Year makes his first return to Old Trafford since his £80 million move to Real Madrid in 2009.

Ronaldo scored 91 times in his final three seasons for United and has 185 goals in 184 games for Real, including one when the teams drew 1-1 at the Bernabeu three weeks ago, and Ferguson expects him to cause them more problems.

The Scot will again ask full-back Rafael to shackle Ronaldo - but has also told his players that, while focusing on Madrid's No. 7, they should not forget about the damage they can do to Real.

Ferguson said: "What do you expect when you play against a team with Ronaldo in it? You expect problems on the night. We have to try and curtail that as best as we can. It won't be easy because he does it every week; he's been excellent.

"The experience young Rafa had in the first half over in Madrid will hopefully help him because he will be given the same task again. I don't think it's one we should fear.

"If you go in worrying about the damage Cristiano can give us then we forget what we can do ourselves."

The last Ronaldo to visit Old Trafford in the white of Real Madrid was the Brazilian striker, who was given a standing ovation by the United faithful after scoring a hat-trick in a 4-3 win for Ferguson's side in 2003.

And invited to compare the namesakes, Ferguson drew a laugh when mentioning the size of the former Barcelona, Inter and AC Milan forward.

He said: "The older one, the fatter one, he peaked that time as a centre forward. This Ronaldo is a supreme athlete, unbelievable athlete, never misses a game, fantastic physique two great feet, pace, good in the air.

"They are two different types but our main worry is not what happened 10 years ago but what will happen on Tuesday."

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