When Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United for Spain in the summer of 2009, Manchester City fans could be forgiven for being glad to be shot of him.
His time in a red shirt was punctuated with derby day incidents including goals, red cards and some classic tantrums.
Ronaldo helped United to seven wins in 11 Manchester derbies, scoring four goals in the process. Those included some significant personal landmarks for United’s former number 7.
His 50th career goal for United came in a clash with City in May 2007, a penalty that proved to be the only goal of the game.
Meanwhile, in May 2009, having announced his intention to leave during that summer, Ronaldo provided the perfect remedy for United’s disappointed supporters in a derby clash: his free kick opened the scoring in a 2-0 win that all but affirmed United’s grip on the league title.
It was to be his last goal for United.
However, Ronaldo’s involvements in Manchester derbies were not always happy affairs, he also picked up two red cards.
The first came for a vicious tackle in January 2006 in a 3-1 victory for City. Two years later he saw red again, this time a handball the reason for a second booking and early bath.
While the Champions League clash won’t have the ferocity of a local derby, City fans will surely look to rile Ronaldo, who has headed for the dressing room early nine times in his career.
Ronaldo’s impressive scoring rate has ballooned since moving to Spain and he has managed to hamper City’s European progress before.
Memorably, Ronaldo scored a last minute winner against City in the group stages of their 2012/13 campaign, capping off a 3-2 comeback victory for Real at the Bernabeu.
In the return fixture, Real effectively condemned City’s chances of progression from the group stages, drawing 1-1.
In his first return to Manchester since leaving, Ronaldo was typically dangerous, going very close with a lob that City’s Matija Nastasic cleared off the line.
Ronaldo is one goal away from breaking the single-season Champions League goalscoring record, with 16 goals so far.
Meanwhile, City have struggled defensively this season with captain Vincent Kompany absent for long periods of the season, and City have a win record of 61.4% with their captain in defence, compared to 47.4% without.
How Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala cope with the former United man will go a long way to deciding the outcome of this semi-final.
Image courtesy of MUTV via YouTube with thanks.