Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has singled out Cristiano Ronaldo and insists his team’s UEFA Champions League hopes depend on whether they can stop the Real Madrid man and his ‘incredible’ talent.
Ronaldo is no stranger to Manchester having played there for tonight’s opponents’ bitter rivals Manchester United, but this will be the first time the former Red Devil returns to the area since leaving United three years ago.
City’s Champions League form has been poor this season and they have to beat Madrid to hold any hope of progressing through Group D.
Portuguese star Ronaldo has scored an astonishing 165 goals in 162 appearances for Madrid, one of which was the unforgettable late winner when City visited the Santiago Bernabeu in September, and the Manchester City manager fears the ability of the 27-year-old.
“I think it is not only against us – I think Ronaldo has a big impact on every game,” said the Italian.
“One player that scores every game, one or two goals, is an incredible player. For this reason we should have more attention on him because he is a player that can change the game.
“It is my opinion that Real Madrid is the best team in the world – with Barca – and when you play against Real, you play against 11 top players and we should pay attention to all the players because they can score with top players.
“It is clear we should pay more attention in some situations but we should play our football.
“Football is fantastic because if you play against a top team like Barca and Real Madrid and you play well, you can win.”
Carlos Tevez made the controversial switch from Manchester United to Manchester City and played with Ronaldo in the red half of Manchester.
The Argentinian striker knows all about his former colleague from their days shared at Old Trafford and he was quick to praise the Real man ahead of the big Champions League clash.
“Cristiano is one of the best players in the world and he will play in this game the way he always has done,” said Tevez.
“He does not seem to feel pressure, and there will be no added pressure just because he is back in Manchester.
“Once he gets a chance to face up to you and run at you with the ball he is very, very dangerous and he strikes the ball well too.”