The forward has faced Atleti more than any other team in his career and hell be hoping to inflict more misery on Diego Simeones side on Wednesday

When the Champions League last-16 draw took place in December and Manchester United were drawn against Paris Saint Germain, the conversation only went in one direction.

It was all about Lionel Messi versus Cristiano Ronaldo for potentially the last time in the competition.

However, a “technical problem” means we will have to continue waiting to witness that era-defining rivalry on the pitch one last time, as the re-draw saw United paired with Spanish champions Atletico Madrid instead, thus reviving a different feud.

The two clubs do not have much history, having only previously faced one another in a two-legged clash in the Cup Winners Cup in 1991.

However, Diego Simeone and some of his Atletico players know all about going up against Ronaldo.

Indeed, Wednesday night’s clash at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium will add another chapter to a 13-year feud.

“Ronaldo has been Atletico’s worst nightmare,” Mario Cortegana, Real Madrid correspondent for MARCA, told GOAL.

“Atletico fans have always tried to make fun of him, making jokes about every detail of his life and career, but Ronaldo always comes out on top.”

The United forward has faced Atletico more than any other opponent, 31 times to be precise, during his time at Real Madrid and Juventus.

He has managed 25 goals, including four hat-tricks, and nine assists during those meetings.

Ronaldo helped end Atleticos Champions League hopes on five consecutive occasions between 2014 and 2019, so you can understand why the Rojiblancos fans have a problem with the Portuguese.

The rivalry is arguably best summed up by the Champions League quarter-final between Juventus and Atletico three years ago.

Ronaldo endured a rare off night during the Bianconeris first-leg loss in Madrid and was mocked mercilessly by the home fans at the Wanda Metropolitano.

He responded by putting five fingers up to the camera to remind them of how many Champions League titles he had won.

He also told reporters in the mixed zone after the game that he was confident that Juve would turn the tie around in Turin.

“Even though they had lost 2-0 on the night, his confidence was impressive,” a source told GOAL.

“He said he was angry about the result but he was smiling because he knew what he could do in the return leg.”

It is also understood Ronaldo told family and friends that Juventus would go through and that he would score the decisive goals.

As it turned out, the smirk he sported in the mixed zone in Madrid was fully justified.

The Portugal international produced one of the great Champions League performances as he completed a hat-trick four minutes from time to send Juventus into the semi-finals.

“He’s just a living football god, it’s ridiculous,” former Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand said of Ronaldo’s treble in Turin.

Once again, then, Simeone was left picking up the pieces after another devastating display from Atleticos nemesis.

After scoring the killer third goal, Ronaldo had even imitated the Argentines cojones celebration from the first leg in a bid to rub further salt into Simeones wounds.

So, the five-time Ballon dOr winner is set for a hostile reception on Wednesday night.

Ronaldo may not be the same player that ran riot in La Liga for nine years but Simeone knows better than to write off the 37-year-old.

“It is difficult to prepare for a player like Cristiano. He is an animal in front of goal,” Simeone said ahead of the Champions League group-stage clash between Atletico and Juventus in 2019.

“He has an incredible record and he is always difficult to control in any goalscoring situation. He has made us suffer in the past.”

Even though he has been struggling of late, with just one goal in his past eight outings for United, Ronaldo will no doubt believe himself capable of inflicting more misery on Atletico.

Its also worth remembering that United wouldnt even be in the last 16 were it not for Ronaldo, who netted six times in the group stage.

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