Manchester United’s last 16 Champions League clash will bring the Red Devils up against a hated former enemy.
Former Liverpool forward Luis Suarez leads the line for Atletico and in his last meeting against United, he helped Barcelona win in the 2018/19 Champions League quarter-finals.
A lot has changed for United now in 2021/22, while Suarez will be 35 by time the Champions League clashes come around. But as Cristiano Ronaldo continues to show, age is just a number.
Suarez fearful over Ronaldo
Speaking via Mundo Deportivo in reaction to the draw, Suarez mentioned Ronaldo as the irrepressible main man Atletico have to focus their attention on.
Atletico won’t need reminding. Ronaldo’s last match against them was a 3-0 win with Juventus in 2019, to overturn a 2-0 deficit. Suarez was still at Barcelona at the time.
Suarez said: “He continues to show what kind of player he is. At United he is a more than important piece and you always have to be careful with that kind of player.”
Ronaldo scored six goals in five Champions League appearances for United this season and has 13 goals already for the club since returning.
Suarez is still scoring for Atletico too. He has seven La Liga goals this season, but just one in the Champions League.
He added: “To win the ‘Champions’ you have to face the best and that is why United is there, for being one of the best in Europe. You have to beat everyone.”
Ronaldo has faced Suarez several times before in El Clasico clashes, and while the Atletico star made no mention of him, there is another Manchester United player he knows even better.
Edinson Cavani has been his international strike partner for Uruguay for the past decade and the pair know each other well, even if their meetings at club level have been rare.
United need Cavani to get back to full fitness and he could provide a real edge in the second half of the season if United can get him firing.
It is Ronaldo who will take centre stage against Atletico of course. The hat-trick in their last meeting was one of three he has scored against the club, with 25 total goals against them. He would dearly love to add to that figure for United next February and March.
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