This is most definitely the tie of the initial knockout round, and while this first leg doesn’t quite carry the hefty drama of a long-awaited, Cristiano Ronaldo return to Old Trafford (we’ll get there eventually), it does finally satiate our appetite for a match-up that had nearly everyone bouncing off the walls on CL draw day.
The bouncing off walls was warranted though. Other than this face off coming disappointingly early in the tournament, this kind of knockout tie is pretty much what the Champions League is all about. This pits epic forces against each other like Rooney and Ron, Sir Alex Ferguson and Señor Jose Mourinho… maybe even Mou’s pointy finger and the United assistant coach’s eyeball. Who knows. There’s just a laundry list of epic duels and marquee match-ups to take in here. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of the most important factors:
So. Much. Speed… With Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Coentrao likely lining up on Real’s left, and Antonio Valencia and Rafael da Silv