Updated: Monday, 6th April 2020 @ 9:57pm

I’ve had Gareth Bale, bring on Cristiano Ronaldo! Manchester United's Rafael ready for Real Madrid

I’ve had Gareth Bale, bring on Cristiano Ronaldo! Manchester United's Rafael ready for Real Madrid

By Chris Bailey

Marauding Manchester United right-back Rafael insists learning to shackle Gareth Bale holds him in good stead for tonight’s Champions League duel with Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 22-year-old kept the Welsh winger quiet as United held Tottenham Hotspur to a draw at White Hart Lane last month.

Though Rafael will meet a different proposition in Ronaldo at the Bernabeu – as well as a familiar face – he believes Bale was the perfect warm-up for the former United man.

“Of course facing Bale is good practice,” the Brazilian told United Review. “They are both very quick but maybe they are just different.

“Ronaldo is right-footed and plays a different type of game, he can come inside and shoot with power, but both of them are tough players to come up against.

"I think I know Ronaldo as I trained with him, I know what he can do because I played and trained with him a lot.

“So he’s not the type of opponent where you would say he is good but I don’t know what he can do.

“I know what he can do, I trained with him, so it could be a help.”

Both will be foes on the pitch tonight, but Rafael has a soft spot for Ronaldo after Madrid’s talisman helped him settle following his move from Fluminense five years ago. 

"To be honest, he helped me a lot when I arrived here,” added Rafael.

“He took me aside and helped me outside of the pitch a lot because I did not speak English very well and obviously he is Portuguese.

"For me, he’s the best player in the world, I think he is the complete player and I really like him – I think he is the number one."

Image courtesy of Nike Football, via YouTube, with thanks.

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