The draw for the knock-out stages of the Champions League has been completed and some mouthwatering fixtures are now scheduled to take place in February of next year. But the one tie everyone is talking about is Real Madrid V Manchester United, arguably the two biggest clubs in the world.
The clubs have won an astonishing 138 trophies and titles between them, including 12 European Championships. The two giants of football have also been home to some of the biggest stars to ever grace the game. With the likes of Zidane, Casillas, Raul, Di Stefano, Cantona, Scholes, Charlton all plying their trade at either Manchester United or Real Madrid.
Two players that currently fit the mould of a footballing great are Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and United's Robin van Persie. These two are at the top of their game and would walk into any side in the world. But which one of the pair will come out on top when Ronaldo makes his hugely anticipated return to Old Trafford?
Both players have the ability to change a match in the blink of an eye. Just like van Persie did against Southampton in the Premier League, single handedly bring United back from the brink of defeat to win the game 3-2 with a last minute winner. Ronaldo also demonstrated his ability to win games single handedly when he struck an audacious 40 yard shot from open play and sent it into the top left corner of the opposition goal, which happened to be Porto, away in the Champions League.
Van Persie has already scored triple the amount of goals that Ronaldo scored in his entire first season in the Premier League for Manchester United and has racked up a total of 15 goals in 21 games for the Red Devils, seamlessly adapting to life at Old Trafford. The Dutchman has scored 199 goals in 446 appearances for club and country in his career, although he has spent lengthy periods of time out on the sidelines.
Ronaldo, on the other hand, has scored 292 goals in 592 appearances as a professional, not as prolific as van Persie at international level but deadly for his club. He has appeared 169 times for Real Madrid and has scored an impressive 169 goals to give him a goal a game ratio. That statistic alone highlights the threat he poses to Manchester United's hopes of progressing to the next stage of the Champions League. One thing that will give Ferguson hope, that his old apprentice won't come back to haunt him, is that many people think Ronaldo isn't a big match player. I personally however think this is a false statement. Goals against Chelsea in the Champions League final and a winning goal against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final are there to back me up.
Overall, Ronaldo edges van Persie on statistics, but on the night anything can happen. If either player is at their best there could be goals galore in this battle of the giants and I for one cannot wait.
Who do you think will edge it between Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin van Persie to give their club victory and passage into the next round of the Champions League?