Rafael prepared for Ronaldo
Rafael hopes he is perfectly prepared for the likely assignment of keeping Cristiano Ronaldo quiet in Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid.
Sir Alex Ferguson hinted some time ago that he would pin his faith in the Brazilian to keep Ronaldo in check, which may seem a tall order considering the former United favourite’s current form.
However, Rafael has been impressing all term and was the outstanding player in Sunday’s 2-0 victory against Everton, while also managing to stifle man-of-the-moment Gareth Bale during the recent draw at Tottenham.
Not only will these factors give confidence to the South American but he has also stressed that Ronaldo is not an unknown quantity after coming up against him in training many times at Carrington.
When asked by United Review about Bale, Rafael replied: “He’s quick. I have to say that he is very quick! If you concentrate, and that’s the key word, and read the game, it helps.
“It’s important because he’s quicker than me, even though I am quick as well. Sometimes if you can read the ball before it gets to him, it can be effective.”
In terms of whether marking Bale could be seen as good practice for coming face-to-face with Ronaldo, he said: “Of course. They are both very quick but maybe they are just different. Ronaldo is right-footed and plays a different type of game. He can come inside and shoot with power but both of them are tough players to come up against.
“I think I know Ronaldo as I trained with him. I know what he can do because I played and trained with him a lot. So he’s not the type of opponent where you would say he is good but I don’t know what he can do. I know what he can do. I trained with him so, yes, it could be a help.
“To be honest, he helped me a lot when I arrived here. He took me aside and helped me outside of the pitch a lot because I did not speak English very well and obviously he is Portuguese.
“For me, he’s the best player in the world. I think he is the complete player and I really like him. I think he is the number one.”