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Guardiola hails 'joy to watch' Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Manchester derby

Cristiano Ronaldo ranks as one of the greatest players in the last 15 years, along with Lionel Messi, according to Pep Guardiola.

Guardiola hails 'joy to watch' Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Manchester derby
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo has been "a joy to watch" in recent years, according to Pep Guardiola and the Spaniard believes football will never see the like of the Manchester United star's talents again.

The duo will face off once more in the Manchester derby on Sunday, having built a rivalry during their days in La Liga as Real Madrid forward and Barcelona coach respectively.

Manchester City boss Guardiola tried to coax Ronaldo to join his side from Juventus in the close season, before United swept in to seal a homecoming for the Portugal superstar.

Pep full of praise

But even after missing out on his services, Guardiola has nothing but praise for the evergreen attacker's skills, citing him and Lionel Messi as generational powerhouses.

"One of the greatest in the last 15 years alongside Messi," Guardiola told a pre-match press conference on Friday when asked on Ronaldo. "We aren't going to see it again.

"When you achieve these things, you're under scrutiny every day. He was too good and as a finisher, exceptional - a top player. It has [been] a joy to watch in these years.

"We have to exploit our game and strength to avoid him close to the ball. We have to control him. One of the greatest - a goalscoring machine.

"He is so strong mentally. He handles this pressure without a problem, [and] lives with expectation through his career in a positive way."

City look for back to back wins over United

City head into their clash with United eying a first Premier League double over their local rivals since the 2018-19 campaign, in what will be the pair's maiden meeting with Ralf Rangnick in the opposite dugout.

The German, who is set to be in command of United through to the end of the season, has them on the longest current unbeaten streak in the top flight (eight games).

Their hosts, meanwhile, will be out to avoid rare successive losses at the Etihad Stadium, following defeat to Tottenham in a five-goal thriller on their previous home outing.


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