Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini is confident he can replicate past successes when it comes to stopping Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portugal star was left out of Real Madrid’s dramatic comeback win over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday due to a thigh complaint, but is expected to return for the Champions League semi-final first leg at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
Ronaldo has scored 47 times this season, including 16 in just 10 Champions League appearances, and netted the winner when Madrid beat City 3-2 in the group stage back in 2012.
But Pellegrini, who was head coach during the forward’s first season at the Santiago Bernabeu, says his experience of facing Manchester United while in charge of Villarreal will be key to keeping Ronaldo quiet.
“Cristiano was signed before I arrived but I am not surprised how well he has done in Madrid,” he said. “I knew all about him from playing Manchester United when I was at Villarreal.
“We played them four times in the Champions League and each time it was 0-0, so defensively we must have been doing something right.
“It was not only Ronaldo we had to look out for either, because at that time United also had [Wayne] Rooney, [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes and [Ruud] Van Nistelrooy.
“Ronaldo was a very good player at that time but the fact is he left Manchester United at age 24. He was still to reach his peak and that is exactly what he has done in Madrid.”