On Sunday, Cristiano Ronaldo is set to feature in a Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium for the first time since 2008. The Portugal international could potentially start for Manchester United against Manchester City. And he’ll be hoping to avoid a repeat of what happened at the stadium 14 years ago…
In 2008, Manchester United travelled to Manchester City.
It was a blockbuster fixture that year, like it is 2022, especially with the hosts having recently snapped up Robinho following their lucrative takeover.
Unfortunately for City, however, the day belonged to United.
Wayne Rooney’s goal was enough to give the Red Devils all three points, with the England international propelling his side closer to the Premier League title in the process.
For Ronaldo, though, it was a day for the United star to forget.
The 37-year-old was dismissed in bizarre circumstances, with the forward receiving his marching orders after he caught the ball in the air from a corner.
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He missed last season’s 4-1 defeat, with Ralf Rangnick claiming the superstar was injured for the showdown.
However, many didn’t believe the German with rumours swirling that Ronaldo had actually been dropped – and refused to make the trip.
Plenty has changed in the years since Ronaldo’s last visit, too, with City now the leading superpower in the country.
And the veteran actually came close to moving to United’s fiercest rivals in last summer’s transfer window, before ultimately moving back to Old Trafford instead.
City were prepared to match Ronaldo’s high salary as they sought a No 9, having missed out on Harry Kane.
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But Ronaldo was persuaded to go back to United after the likes of Ferguson, Bruno Fernandes, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand all intervened.
Meanwhile, speaking ahead of United’s match with City, Mikael Silvestre has expressed a belief Ronaldo should start the game on the bench.
“I think right now, away from home against City, I would start Marcus and put Cristiano on later in the game,” Silvestre told BettingExpert.
“Cristiano has been away for Portugal. Naturally I would go for Marcus to start the game especially as he’s been in very good form and has confidence. I would keep it that way.
“It’s possible they can create an upset. They’ve shown more resilience, especially away from home.
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“They are ready to fight as a team, to defend the goal, the results. They could put up a good fight and then going forward, I think they will create opportunities because City are not at their best defensively right now.
“There could be an upset, maybe a draw. Even if we expect City to be dominant in possession.
“It’s one of their strengths [playing on the counter]. The way football is evolving, you have to. It’s just easier. More space is better for the players to express themselves and take advantage of the high positions, especially away from home.
“I don’t expect United to be necessarily focusing on sitting deep. But, you know how City pressure and the way they operate going forward.
“You’re gonna be under pressure defending 30, 40 yards away from the goal and that means there is space if you manage to and when you manage to recover the ball.”
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