Thursday, December 20th, 2012
No doubting what the glamour tie of the first knockout round of the Champions League is this season: Real Madrid v Manchester United.
The dates to mark in your diaries are February 13, 2013 and March 5, 2013, with the first game at the Bernabeu and the second at Old Trafford.
Whilst some have argued that Real Madrid are to be feared since their quest for La Liga is all but over, this is counter balanced with the fact Los Blancos face Barcelona just three days before they head to Manchester for the second leg.
Arguably, Real Madrid, on paper at least, have the better side and whilst Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney can do damage against anyone, the options the Spaniards have in centre midfield (Xabi Alonso, Luka Modric, Sami Khedira etc.) is where the tie could well be won and lost.
For now though, lets just bask in the excitement of the fixtures, with Cristiano Ronaldo facing his former club and the likely mind games between Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.
The draw saw quick excited reactions from Rio Ferdinand and Ruud van Nistelrooy on Twitter, with the latter having played for both clubs.
And, for many, this fixture elicits a couple of memories, both favouring Real Madrid. Ronaldo’s hat-trick at Old Trafford when Manchester United won 4-3 but exited the Champions League to the Galacticos in 2003 and Raul’s famous goal after some ridiculous skill by Fernando Redondo in 2000.
Tweets and videos below.
Oh yes, Madrid!! What a great couple a games that’ll be!! @cristiano see u soon bro!!
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) December 20, 2012
— Ruud van Nistelrooy (@RvN1776) December 20, 2012