Middlesbrough's Dael Fry star struck ahead of facing Cristiano Ronaldo

Middlesbrough defender Dael Fry is preparing himself to face Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford.

Chris Wilder’s side come to the Theatre of Dreams on Friday with a place in the FA Cup fifth round up for grabs.

Friday night’s clash will come the day before Ronaldo celebrates his 37th birthday.

After missing the third round win against Aston Villa with a hip problem, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will be eager to make his return in the prestigious cup competition.

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Fry, who is likely to start at centre-back for Wilder, has given an interesting insight in how he may introduce himself to one of the greatest players of all time, before looking to keep the man who has scored over 800 career goals quiet.

Speaking to the Northern Echo, Fry said: “I am looking forward to going to Old Trafford and playing against probably one of the best to ever play the game in (Cristiano) Ronaldo. I’ve thought about it quite a lot, to be honest.”

He joked: “I’ve thought about just kind of being stood near him and going, ‘Alright mate’, and see what he says.

“But even just to be stood that close to him will be crazy, but hopefully we can do a job on him as well.”

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Ronaldo will be hoping to make his first FA Cup appearance for 13 years. United’s number seven is set to face Boro for the 15th time during his career.

In the 14 matches he’s previously played against the Riverside Stadium side, Ronaldo has five goals and three assists to his name.

From those 14 games, the legendary Portuguese has won seven, drawn five and lost two.

Another Boro man who will be hoping to keep Ronaldo at bay is goalkeeper Joe Lumley.

Like his teammate Fry, the 26-year-old, who has 10 Championship clean sheets to his name this season, is looking forward to playing at Old Trafford and following in the footsteps of some former United legends.

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“Of course I’ve thought about it” said Lumley.

“Since I’ve been young I’ve watched the big goalkeepers. (Peter) Schmeichel was the really big one, but that was when I was really young.

“Van der Sar was the keeper that I used to look up to – (Edwin) van der Sar and Shay Given. They were the two I really admired and one was a United goalie.

“It would be great to play. Obviously that’s down to the manager’s decision but if I do, I’m sure it will be a brilliant experience and I can’t wait for it.”

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.