David Beckham believes Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo will be inspired at Old Trafford and put in a masterclass performance against Manchester United next week.
The Portuguese star scored against the Red Devils when they visited the Santiago Bernabeu for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with the match ending in a 1-1 draw.
He will be expected to score again when his side make the trip to Old Trafford for the second leg on Tuesday night. The game would also mark Ronaldo’s return to the same stadium where he excelled for six long years before moving to Madrid for a world record transfer fee in 2009.
Beckham backs Ronaldo to come up with the goods on the night in order to delight the same fans who turned up to watch him in action in the Premier League in the not-so distant past.
The Paris Saint-Germain player also understands the significance of the moment for the player – Ronaldo has not played at Old Trafford since 2009 – as he himself had to wait seven years before returning to the Theatre of Dreams with AC Milan.
The former England captain told the Guardian: “When you go back, you enjoy the occasion, of course, and I am sure it will inspire Cristiano.”
“Many things inspire great players and him going back will be a special night for him.
“The fans love him and it will be a great occasion.
“United did very well at the Bernabeu and I am sure they will do very well at Old Trafford.
“It will be a great game to watch. It is hard to say who will win. Two great teams with great players.”
Meanwhile, PSG will play against Valencia for their second leg fixture on Wednesday and boast a slender one-goal advantage from their previous encounter. Beckham did not play a part in the Ligue 1 side’s 2-1 win over Valencia at the Mestalla but is expected to feature for them next week.
“It’s exciting to be back and this will be a big game for PSG,” he continued.
“We’ve got ourselves in a good position by winning away but that doesn’t mean it will be easy here. As long as we play well and work hard, we’ll be OK.”
The former Real Madrid star also believes that it would not be wise to rule out Barcelona’s chances against AC Milan despite the former trailing by two goals in their two-legged tie.
“People are talking about a shift in power with Barcelona having lost their first game [2-0 against Milan], but no one should ever doubt their players even now.
“They have a home game to come and it doesn’t matter if they’re two or three down. I know what it’s like to play against them when they’re up against it and it’s not easy.”