Sir Alex Ferguson is relishing the chance of seeing Cristiano Ronaldo in top form again.
The world player of the year did not get started until late September after a summer ankle operation and, although he hit the goal trail immediately, his form then dipped. However, the 24-year-old has been back at his peak over the last month, scoring seven times, including two incredible 40-yard free-kicks to ease Manchester United's path towards another Champions League final.
And Ferguson is looking forward to seeing more heroics over the next three weeks and said: "I am not surprised at Cristiano's recent level of performance. He is a young man who is still improving because he is nowhere near his maturity."
The meeting with Barcelona in Rome on May 27 is already being billed as a shoot-out between the Portugal superstar and Lionel Messi for the right to be regarded as world number one.
It promises to be the most intriguing sub-plot to an eagerly-awaited contest, by which time, Ronaldo could easily be threatening the 30-goal mark once more.
"Cristiano is coming good just at the right time," said Ferguson.
"He took a while to get into his rhythm after his operation.
"But he is a fantastic athlete, with great physique who never misses a game. We are lucky to have that combination, and courage as well.
"Obviously he won't get to 42 goals like he did last season but he is up to 25 now, which is still a fantastic tally for someone who is regarded as a wide player."
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