Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson has described his club's UEFA Champions League last-16 draw with Real Madrid CF as the "tie of the round" as he prepares to welcome back Cristiano Ronaldo who scored 118 goals in 292 games before moving to the Santiago Bernabéu in June 2009.
While their first meeting dates back to April 1957, when Madrid triumphed 5-3 on aggregate in the last four en route to lifting their second European Champion Clubs' Cup, these sides have been drawn together just three times since. Their last encounter was a 6-5 two-legged win for the Merengues in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, and former Madrid forward Emilio Butragueño expects another "thrilling experience".
Emilio Butragueño, Madrid director
It will be a thrilling experience for everyone. Manchester United are not only a great team but a great organisation known around the world. We are happy with that, we have a great relationship with them, but we know it's going to be tough. Sir Alex Ferguson has been there over 25 years and he's a fantastic manager – he knows how to get the best out of his players. They have top players, but we are Real Madrid and we will try our best.
I'm sure it will be a special game for Ronaldo. He's a great professional. I'm sure he's going to do his best to help us qualify. It's going to be very, very special for him. I know they [José Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson] have a great relationship.
Sir Alex Ferguson, United manager
It's the tie of the round. It's a great opportunity for our fans to see Cristiano again and also for me to meet up with José again – I'll need to order some good wine!
Edwin van der Saar, former United goalkeeper
It is an interesting one, of course. I know for sure that both managers and players would have preferred to maybe meet a little bit later in the tournament, but that is what the draw does to you, so you have to make sure that you win your group. It is great, especially for the fans who get to see Ronaldo back at Old Trafford. The managers respect each other greatly and it will be a great game.
Previous meetings (UEFA Champions League unless stated)
23/04/2003: United 4-3 Madrid (Van Nistelrooy 43, Iván Helguera og 52, Beckham 71 85; Ronaldo 12 50 59), quarter-final
08/04/2003: Madrid 3-1 United (Luís Figo 12, Raúl González 28 49; Van Nistelrooy 52), quarter-final
19/04/2000: United 2-3 Madrid (Beckham 64, Scholes 88pen; Keane og 21, Raúl González 50 52), quarter-final
04/04/2000: Madrid 0-0 United, quarter-final
15/05/1968: Madrid 3-3 United (Pirri 31, Gento 41, Amancio Amaro 45; Zoco og 44, Sadler 73, Foulkes 80), European Cup semi-final
24/04/1968: United 1-0 Madrid (Best 35), European Cup semi-final
25/04/1957: United 2-2 Madrid (Taylor 62, Charlton 85; Kopa 25, Rial 33), European Cup semi-final
11/04/1957: Madrid 3-1 United (Rial 61, Di Stéfano 63, Mateos 83; Taylor 82), European Cup semi-final
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