Manchester United's Rafael ready for return of Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva is looking forward to his side’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid on Tuesday, especially because it will mark the return of former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
The 22-year-old Brazilian lined up at right-back as United drew 1-1 in the first leg of the tie, after Ronaldo cancelled out Danny Welbeck's strike.
Despite the fact the English side have an away goal, Rafael does not believe United have the advantage and insists they will be seeking a win.
He told Globo: "It is a dream for any player to face Real Madrid in the Champions League. This match is also special because of the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester.
"There is no advantage, we tied. We cannot think that we have any advantage, because that would be a mistake.
"Our team is focused and will take the field in search of victory. Hopefully we will get the job done."
The young Brazil international endured a torrid first-half last time out as he struggled to cope with the threat of both Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil.
However, Rafael believes he improved after the break, as did Sir Alex Ferguson, and he hopes to reproduce that performance at Old Trafford.
He added: "My first time at the Bernabeu was not good. I think I wanted to do everything at once and it did not work out that way. In the second half, I was more calm and attentive and had a firmer performance.
"Marking Cristiano Ronaldo will never be easy for any defender, but I will be totally focused to do my best and help my team. I hope to do even better at Old Trafford."
Rafael spent one season playing alongside Ronaldo at Old Trafford, before the Portuguese winger moved to Real Madrid for £80 million in 2009.
"He is a great person, very humble and a great friend. He helped us a lot in the beginning when my brother and I arrived aged 15 years old," Rafael explained.
"We did not speak English and he was the guy who helped us to talk to people. On the field, he also helped us a lot. He always encouraged me and gave me confidence.
"I've said several times that I think Cristiano Ronaldo is better than Lionel Messi. Maybe Messi has the advantage of playing in a better team, who have played together for longer."