Ralf Rangnick Predicts Cristiano Ronaldo Can Be The Difference Against Atletico Madrid

Ralf Rangnick hopes Cristiano Ronaldo can add to his incredible goal scoring record against Atletico Madrid to secure victory for Manchester United in their Champions League round of sixteen tie on Tuesday night.

The Portuguese legend has scored 25 goals in 35 games against Atletico Madrid over the last 20 years, and currently has only scored more career goals against just one other team, Sevilla, with a total of 27.

Ronaldo has been part of the team, with either Real Madrid or Juventus, who has knocked Atletico out of the Champions League in five of its last seven appearances in the knock-out stages.

He was famously part of the Real Madrid side who beat Atletico in the 2014 Champions League final, scoring once in their 4-1 win, and then scoring the winning penalty in the shoot-out to beat them in the 2016 final.

Ronaldo comes in to this game in impressive form, having scored a hat-trick against Tottenham in United’s 3-2 win at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, which saw him reach 807 goals and surpass Josef Bican as football’s all-time leading goal scorer.

The United interim manager is hoping he can continue this form against Atletico at Old Trafford tonight. “If he can score another three goals, we will see,” Rangnick said on Monday. “It’s not easy to score three goals against this team at all. His overall performance against Tottenham was very good, and this is what we hope to see from him again against Atletico Madrid.”

Rangnick dismissed concerns Ronaldo at the age of 37 might struggle playing again just three days after the Tottenham game. “I’m not worried that he’s not been able to recover, he’s always been a person that looks after himself and his body. He knows what to do.”

Three weeks ago United drew 1-1 in the first leg of their tie against Atletico, but were fortunate not to lose, and Rangnick is hoping his side has learned from the experience.

“We saw in the first half in Madrid, what we shouldn’t do, how we shouldn’t play, and this was a big topic for us yesterday and pre-match before the game. We have to know what it tactically takes and the rest is about energy.”

“It’s very important not to concede first, even more so against a team like Atletico who don’t mind the other team having the ball. In their last four or five games, they had less than 50% possession. We are aware of that, we want to try not to concede at all if possible, but it will be important to score the first goal ourselves.”

Rangnick is aware the Champions League is United’s last chance to win a trophy this season. “It is more about our own sporting ambition,” he said. “We are highly ambitious, we want to proceed, we want to show that we can compete with the best teams in Europe and therefore we will try everything to win the game.”

“Our supporters play a vital role and it’s always a very special atmosphere at Old Trafford, even more so for European games. They can be our 12th and 13th player on the pitch and make the difference. In the end it’s up to us, we have to create those moments and then the rest will come from our supporters.”

“The supporters are the ones we can rely on and what kind of energy that comes from them is up to us. Antonio Conte said on Saturday that it was a very difficult atmosphere for them to play and that’s probably one of the biggest compliments you can get: if the opposition manager says that after the game.”

Rangnick has a fully fit squad to choose from with Bruno Fernandes having recovered from illness, and only Luke Shaw being a slight doubt.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sampilger/2022/03/15/ralf-rangnick-predicts-cristiano-ronaldo-can-be-the-difference-against-atletico-madrid/