Van Nistelrooy: Duo key in CL

Ruud van Nistelrooy believes Manchester United's Champions League clash with Real Madrid could hinge on Robin van Persie and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Last Updated: 08/02/13 at 18:38 Post Comment

Ruud Van Nistelrooy: Played for both Manchester United and Real Madrid

Ruud Van Nistelrooy: Played for both Manchester United and Real Madrid

Van Nistelrooy, who spent five years at United before moving to Madrid in 2006 for a four-year spell at the Bernabeu, finds it impossible to pick a favourite between the two European superpowers and believes the last-16 tie will be settled by the "smallest details".

To that end he has singled out Red Devils' hitman Van Persie and Madrid's former United forward Ronaldo as the deciding factors.

"For me the difference will be the form of Cristiano and Van Persie. I think that one of these two players will make the difference," Van Nistelrooy told Marca.

"Both teams are doing very well. I think Madrid have improved a lot in recent weeks. Taking away the Granada game (1-0 loss) I see a strong team, who played very well against Barca and who show their best in the big games.

"I think the tie will be decided by the smallest details."

The 36-year-old Dutchman feels Madrid, who are looking for a record 10th European Cup crown, boast more quality than Sir Alex Ferguson's side but has warned the Spanish giants that United's "lethal" strikeforce of Van Persie and Wayne Rooney will take some stopping.

"I think they (Madrid) have more quality on the pitch. But United win and win every week. They trail 2-0 and fight back, they go 1-0 up and control the game.

"United are very much a team. They defend all together and then play for Van Persie and Rooney.

"Madrid, due to injuries, have not been able to create such a solid group and be able to repeat the same team every week.

"Pepe and Marcelo have been injured, (Gonzalo) Higuain and (Karim) Benzema haven't been doing well, (Angel) Di Maria doesn't always play...The injury to Iker (Casillas) doesn't help either because he's always there and very experienced.

"It will be a very interesting game."

Asked what Madrid need to fear, Van Nistelrooy said: "United don't need many chances to score. Give one to Van Persie and Rooney and it's going in. They don't miss. And the problem is that they always create something.

"They are a lethal pair."

The first leg takes place at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

d like to add players who push their team-mates out of the way to celebrate on their own

exhausted
The Ten Most Hated Things In Football

I

f I were Manuel Pellegrini I would keep quiet and hope the Board didn't notice City not winning anything. If he isn't sacked I'd be astonished.

lfcfan80
Pellegrini: I won't be sacked

S

till I suppose it still gives him at least another year in the job. By the time it comes around , he can always make up another excuse. First it was 3 months , then a year .....Next year ? Whats his excuse with Van Persie ?

spud1
Di Maria 'could peak next year'

Footer 365

Wigan stun Norwich, Sharp inspires Leeds

Norwich's bid for a seventh successive Championship win was thwarted by a determined Wigan, while Leeds, Blackburn and Birmingham all won.

Newcastle 0-1 Man United: Evans and Cisse accused of spitting as visitors leave it late...

Manchester United nicked a 1-0 win at Newcastle but Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse were involved in an unsavoury incident.

Neville 'concerned' over Reds form

Gary Neville has admitted that he is "concerned" that a resurgent Liverpool could qualify for the Champions League ahead of Manchester United.

Mail Box

Look Away Now Please, Sherwood...

Sherwood's cringeworthiness, Matic's Wembley celebrations, why LVG must show balls - it's all here in your Wednesday afternoon Mailbox...

United's No 2 Isn't That Bad Either...

One mailboxer is getting in a flap about the claim Man Utd would struggle without De Dea, while there's some anger directed at Chelsea...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company