Champions League Preview | Atlético Madrid vs Manchester United

Atlético Madrid host Manchester United at the Wanda Metropolitano tonight in the last 16 of the Champions League.

United have not played Atlético Madrid in European competition since the 1991/92 Cup Winners’ Cup. Atlético won 4-1 on aggregate and will be hoping for more of the same this time out.

Los Colchoneros gave themselves a much-needed confidence booster on Saturday, winning 3-0 away to Osasuna in La Liga.

Manager Diego Simeone spoke on Tuesday ahead of the game in the Spanish capital.

“We are facing one of the best teams in the world. In the last 14 games, they have only lost one,” Simeone told the media at Tuesday’s pre-match press conference. 

“Since the arrival of the new coach [Rangnick], he has given them solidity, teamwork and commitment. The new coach has made his mark because you can see it is an intense, dynamic, courageous team with very good individuals.

“The game will be tough, like all Champions League games, but we are in our stadium and with our supporters.”

“The other day there was a great spirit in the team. Hopefully, it will be there again against Manchester United because that will enable us to compete better,” the Argentine continued.

United forward and former Real Madrid player, Cristiano Ronaldo, is not the most popular figure with Atlético fans. The Portuguese has played against the La Liga side more times than any other club during his career, scoring 25 goals in 35 games.

Ronaldo has only managed to score more goals versus Sevilla during his entire career.

Atlético are missing captain Koke on Wednesday night through injury. The in-form Yannick Carrasco is suspended for both legs. Thomas Lemar returns to the squad after recovering from Covid-19.

Antoine Griezmann has returned to training but didn’t make it off the bench at the weekend and is unlikely to play from the start against United having not featured since early December.

David de Gea returns to face the side he left to join Manchester United in 2011. The Spanish shot-stopper spoke to UEFA before the trip to Madrid.

“Of course, I’m going back home [for this tie], I’m going back to the club that gave me the opportunity to be who I am today. But this is just another match,” De Gea said.

“Everyone wants to play well, we want to win, it is a Champions League match. Obviously, I wish Atlético all the best, but I don’t know whether the fact we’re playing them is a good or bad omen. Everyone is going there to win, especially me.”

Atlético Madrid possible XI:

Oblak – Vrsaljko, Savic, Giménez, Reinildo – Marcos Llorente, Kondogbia, Héctor Herrera, Lemar – Correa, João Félix.

Manchester United possible XI:

De Gea – Dalot, Maguire, Varane, Shaw – Pogba, McTominay – Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Sancho – Cristiano Ronaldo.

Kieran Quaile

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