Football: Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini believes that his side’s dwindling hopes of Champions League survival depend on containing Real Madrid’s “incredible” Cristiano Ronaldo tomorrow night.
The Group D clash at Eastlands will see the world’s most expensive player return to Manchester for the first time since his £80 million move from United to the Spanish champions.
And City boss Mancini insisted today that his side would have to nullify the prolific forward — who has 165 goals in 162 games for Real — if they are to stay alive.
He said: “I think (it is) not only tomorrow night — I think Ronaldo has a big impact on every game. One player that scores every game, one or two goals, is an incredible player.
“For this reason we should have more attention on him because he is a player that can change the game.”
City have managed just two points from their first four matches in the competition and are almost out of the reckoning for a spot in the knock-out phase.
In contrast Real lie one point behind group leaders Borussia Dortmund and will be intent on heading off any late charge from either Ajax or City.
As a result the Eastlands clash will be a huge occasion for both sides, though Carlos Tevez warned that Ronaldo will feel under no pressure to perform.
The City striker, who played alongside Ronaldo at Manchester United, said: “Cristiano is one of the best players in the world and he will play in this game the way he always has done.
“He does not seem to feel pressure, and there will be no added pressure just because he is back in Manchester.”
Ronaldo aside, Mancini is keenly aware of the quality throughout Real’s ranks as the likes of Karim Benzema, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Angel di Maria prepare to step out at Eastlands.
The City boss said: “It is my opinion that Real Madrid is the best team in the world — with Barca — and when you play against Real, you play against 11 top players and we should pay attention to all the players because they can score with top players.
“It is clear we should pay more attention in some situations but we should play our football. Football is fantastic because if you play against a top team like Barca and Real Madrid and you play well, you can win.”
One man unlikely to feature for City is striker Mario Balotelli, who has a back problem.
City’s other injury concerns include left-back Gael Clichy, who suffered an ankle knock in the 5-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.
Jack Rodwell (hamstring) is also set to miss out despite returning to training while right-back Micah Richards (knee) and centre-back Kolo Toure (ineligible) are out.
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