Cristiano Ronaldo told uefa.com there is no margin for error against FC Internazionale Milano as Manchester United FC resume their UEFA Champions League defence with a first-leg fixture at San Siro on Tuesday.
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"It's time to kill or be killed," said Cristiano Ronaldo as Manchester United FC looked ahead to meeting FC Internazionale Milano in the first knockout round of the UEFA Champions League.
As the business end of the competition begins, the Portuguese winger insists there is no margin for error, especially against a side as powerful as the Italian champions. "From now on, all games are important," Ronaldo told uefa.com. "It's time to kill or be killed. Whoever loses will exit the competition and we don't want to lose, we don't want to get stuck along the way. It will be a difficult game, but I think that Manchester United have a better team, and we'll do our best to win it."
Inter have won the Scudetto for each of the past three seasons and are on course to do so again, but despite dominating Italian football in recent years they have been unable make their mark in Europe. It is 44 years since they last lifted the European Champion Clubs' Cup and Ronaldo believes United's experience of winning the competition last season will give them the edge.
"They're a team we need to respect," he said. "They're a good side and first in Serie A so we need to be very careful. They're a team with very experienced players, but we also have our aces and great players. We have a more experienced team, we're the reigning champions. It will be a good game, a well-contested game, and the better team will win."
'Earth stood still'
Ronaldo realised a dream when United beat Chelsea FC last season's final in Moscow, and lifting the famous trophy has fuelled his appetite to go and do it again. "I always had a great ambition to win the Champions League, because it isn't obtainable for every player. It was my first Champions League win, so the emotion was spectacular. I remember Edwin van der Sar saving Nicolas Anelka's penalty and for me it was like the earth stood still, it was a really brilliant sensation. Sometimes we can't control our emotions.
"The Champions League is unique. When you hear the music and you come out on to the pitch, you feel you're part of a game that is completely different to all the others. It is already the most evenly-balanced competition in football in my opinion and it is spectacular to play in. It's every player's ambition to be a part of the Champions League, and they would all like to win it. I've had that privilege, and I hope to repeat that very soon."