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AS.com | 20/11/2012
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has joked that the only way to stop Cristiano Ronaldo when his side play Real Madrid on Wednesday night is to "call the police".
Cristiano did not have the best record at the Etihad stadium as a Manchester United player, scoring just once there - from the penalty spot in May 2007 to all but win the Premier League for the Red Devils - and was sent off in two of his last appearances at the stadium - in January 2006, a 3-1 win for City, and in November 2008, a 1-0 win for United.
However, Mancini thinks this record is insignificant, and is still very concerned about the threat the Madrid forward poses to his side.
"I just hope he can have a bad night on Wednesday because, when you come up against a player who can score one or two goals every game, it is difficult," said the Italian.
"For him, it will be a big occasion, returning to Manchester, but it is an important night for Real as well, because they want to keep progressing towards the second stage."
Mancini also believes that Ronaldo is good enough to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or in January, because his performances and goals lead Madrid to win the league title last season:
"Ronaldo is a top player and he deserves to win the Ballon d'Or. He scored so many goals last year, and that helped Real finish above Barcelona in La Liga. He and Messi are the best players in the world, but what he did to make Real champions has to count in his favour."
City must win the game on Wednesday to stand any chance of staying in the Champions League, and Mancini recalled the first game of the campaign, the 2-3 defeat to José Mourinho's side at the Santiago Bernabéu in September, and pondered how different his team's position in the competition would be had they not lost that game.
"If we had come back from the Bernabéu with a good result it would have probably changed this group for us," he said. "It was really disappointing. It's not easy to play there and in the first half they played better than us, but the match totally changed in the second half and, when you are 2-1 up with three minutes to go, you should be very strong to close the game."
Mancini believes City have almost no chance of qualifying for the next round of the Champions League, but is determined for his side to give a good showing against Madrid.
"I think that we don't have any chance to go to the second stage, but football is strange. I think for the fans it's an important game because, three or four years ago, City supporters would want this game and to play in the Champions League against Real and Barcelona. Now it's an important game and we want to do a good job."