Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is hoping the emotion will be too much for Cristiano Ronaldo as the Real Madrid star faces his former club tomorrow night.
Ronaldo left Old Trafford in 2009 in a world-record £80million deal, and is set to play against his old team when the two sides meet in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Since his departure, Ronaldo has gone on to become one of the world’s best players alongside Lionel Messi, but Ferdinand is hoping the Portuguese winger doesn’t perform to his best.
"It's obviously going to be an emotional night for Ronaldo and a great night for him too," said Ferdinand. "But hopefully it gets too emotional for him.
"We've had a few texts, but when you get into a situation like this when you're coming up against a friend, all the texts and the conversations go to one side and you don't really speak until you actually get the game over and done with."
Ronaldo spent six seasons at Old Trafford, becoming a fans favourite after scoring 118 goals for the club, but although he poses the obvious danger to United, Ferdinand is keen to highlight the threat the rest of the Madrid side pose.
"He has a great rapport with the fans and there is a mutual respect between them both, which is great," added Ferdinand.
"The fans appreciated him when he was here and since he's been gone they sing his name. He came here a young boy and left a world-class player. He showed a lot of respect when he left and still does.
"We're going to have to use all of our experience, courage and ability to make sure that we stop not only Ronaldo, but the other players they have, because Real are a great team.
"They have so many other weapons. We could shut Ronaldo down for 90 minutes, but they still have players to hurt us, so we have to be compact and work hard."
Sir Alex Ferguson's side head to the Santiago Bernabeu for the first leg of the last 16 clash, before they host Jose Mourinho’s side in the return match on March 5th, with the winners moving to the quarter-finals.
The Red Devils last won the competition in 2008, when Ronaldo's header helped his former side to victory against Chelsea on penalties in Moscow. Madrid, meanwhile, last lifted the trophy back in 2002.
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