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Keep Cristiano Ronaldo on lockdown or pay price: Manchester City warned of ‘incredible’ goal-machine threat

By Dean Wilkins

Manchester City will have to keep free-scoring Cristiano Ronaldo on lockdown if they want to overcome Real Madrid tomorrow night, according to Roberto Mancini.

The Portuguese goal-machine suck City hearts in the two clubs’ previous meeting at the Bernabeu when he grabbed a late winner.

And when the Spanish champions arrive at the Etihad Stadium tomorrow hoping to emulate their home success, Mancini highlighted his team’s need to control the threat the former Manchester United hero poses.

Mancini said: “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’s second season among Europe’s elite clubs has been educational at best, their two home draws accompany two away defeats and they sit bottom of their group with progression into the knockout stages out of their hands.

Mancini is also hoping to shift pressure off his player’s shoulders as they prepare to host the world’s top team.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

But Jose Mourinho’s men are in no position to sit back and fend off City’s charge as they remain one point behind group leaders Borussia Dortmund.

“It was a difficult group when we started and now it is very difficult because we did some mistakes in the first two games,” Mancini added.

“But we have another two important games and we want to play well.

“We don’t have a lot of chance to go through but it is important for us to do a good job.”

The man who replaced Mancini as Inter boss went on to lead the Italian giants to their first-ever treble – winning the Serie A title, Champions League and Coppa Italia – and Mourinho will take charge of his 100th Champions League fixture tomorrow.

Mancini said: “Congratulations to him. To do 100 caps in the Champions League at his age [49] is very important, but I think tomorrow is not Mourinho against Mancini but City against Real Madrid.

“The players are more important than us.”

Ronaldo’s former teammate Carlos Tevez is also wary of the danger City’s backline will face and dismissed the possibility of the Madrid talisman crumbling under the hostile reception he is likely to face from old rival fans.

“Cristiano is one of the best players in the world and he will play in this game the way he always has done,” said the Argentine striker.

“He does not seem to feel pressure, and there will be no added pressure just because he is back in Manchester.

“Once he gets a chance to face up to you and run at you with the ball he is very, very dangerous and he strikes the ball well too.”

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