Manchester United have been drawn against Atletico Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.
The two sides have only faced each other twice, in the 1991 Cup Winners’ Cup but one player in the United ranks is more familiar with Diego Simeone’s side.
Cristiano Ronaldo was a bitter rival of Atletico during his time with Real Madrid and has played against them 35 times in his career so far.
Ronaldo’s record against Atletico Madrid
In those 35 games Ronaldo played against Atletico for Real Madrid and later Juventus, he notched up 25 goals as well as nine assists.
Those games and goals have brought 17 wins, nine draws and nine defeats.
Ronaldo’s two most important wins against Simeone’s side came in the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals.
Ronaldo scored from the penalty spot to seal the first victory – a 4-1 win – and scored the decisive spot-kick in the 2016 shootout.
During the 2011/12 season, he scored five goals across the two matches as Real secured a double of 4-1 wins over their bitter rivals in La Liga.
At Juve, there were Champions League heroics against Atletico, too. In the last 16 in 2018/19, Ronaldo scored a second leg hat-trick to overturn a 2-0 first leg deficit.
What Simeone said
Ronaldo is a familiar foe to Simeone, and the Argentine has had plenty to say about him down the years.
In August 2014, months after that first Champions League final loss, Simeone said that his Argentine countryman and former United flop Angel di Maria was a better player than Ronaldo.
In January 2015, Simeone said that another Argentine – Lionel Messi – is better than Ronaldo, although by June 2018, he had seemingly changed his stance, saying that Ronaldo would be more dangerous in a team which is not full of great players.
In January 2017, Simeone suggested Ronaldo did not deserve the Ballon d’Or despite it coming in part for beating his Atletico side in the Champions League again.
After the aforementioned hat-trick in March 2019, Ronaldo mimicked Simeone’s famous celebration, but the Atletico boss did not take exception to it and hailed him as the ‘best in the world’ at that time.
By November 2019, when Atletico and Simeone faced Juventus and Ronaldo, the Argentine admitted: “He always played really well against us. He is the number one, an amazing player.
“He always knows how to create problems to his opponents. But I don’t think it will be just Ronaldo against Atletico Madrid.”
Interestingly, Spanish outlet AS reported in September that Ronaldo was offered to Atletico before he made that sensational return to United.
If that is true, that adds another layer of intrigue to the occasion when Ronaldo resumes his rivalry with Atletico, looking to haunt them once again.
- Manager “really pleased” with Manchester United loanee's performances vs league's best
- 7 players who could leave Manchester United before the transfer deadline
- 10 things we learned from Ralf Rangnick's first 10 games in charge at Manchester United
- Ranking Marcus Rashford's 4 Manchester United injury time winning goals
- Manchester United youngster expected to leave the club on loan this month