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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Manchester United-Atletico: Ronaldo will be ready for Champions League, says Rangnick

Cristiano Ronaldo has a great record against Atletico Madrid, and Ralf Rangnick has no doubt he will be ready to face the Rojiblancos.

Update:
Manchester United-Atletico: Ronaldo will be ready for Champions League, says Rangnick
Manchester United via Getty Images

Ralf Rangnick has no concerns over Cristiano Ronaldo's powers of recovery as Manchester United prepare to face Atletico Madrid three days on from his match-winning performance against Tottenham.

Having missed the Manchester derby due to a hip flexor injury, Ronaldo's hat-trick lifted United to a crucial 3-2 win at Old Trafford as they chase a place in the Premier League top four and Champions League football for next season.

Their attention now turns to this campaign's Champions League competition and the second leg of their last-16 tie with Atlético on Tuesday.

United drew 1-1 in the first leg in Madrid, and the emphasis is likely to be placed on Ronaldo to secure their place in the quarter-finals.

Ronaldo has netted 13 goals in his last 15 home games against Atlético across all competitions.

That figure includes a pair of hat-tricks in his four most recent such meetings with the Rojiblancos, both of which came in the Champions League.

He scored a hat-trick against Atlético in the 2017 semi-finals for Real Madrid and repeated the feat for Juventus in the round of 16 in 2019 as the Bianconeri completed a remarkable second-leg turnaround.

Rangnick: "It's not only about Cristiano, it's about the whole team"

Rangnick is unsure whether Ronaldo has another treble in his locker this time around, but is confident the 37-year-old will be ready to try to fire the Red Devils into the last eight.

He told a media conference on Monday: "I'm not worried that he has not been able to recover so far. He's always been a person who looks quite a lot after himself, his body, he exactly knows what to do so I'm not worried about that.

"If he can score another three goals we will see. It's not so easy to score three goals against this team at all. His overall performance was just good [against Tottenham], if not even very good, and this is obviously what we hope to get from him again tomorrow night.

"It's not only about Cristiano, it's about the whole team. We saw in the first half in Madrid what we shouldn't do, how we should not play, this was obviously a big topic for us yesterday and today when we spoke pre-match about tomorrow's game.

"We have to know what it takes and what it tactically takes and the rest is all about energy. We were the team on Saturday against Spurs who just wanted to win that game and that was obvious.

"Our supporters played a vital role; they realised how much we wanted to win that game and tomorrow it will be similar."

Bruno Fernandes was said to be in a race to be available to face Atletico after contracting covid-19. However, Rangnick confirmed he trained on Monday after testing negative.

Left-back Luke Shaw is a "small question-mark" for the game but trained on Sunday and Monday.

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