Cristiano Ronaldo faces a familiar foe on Wednesday when his Manchester United goes to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 first leg. Los Colchoneros are the team he’s scored the most against in his career outside of Sevilla, and the timing could be good considering the defense is playing at very poor levels in comparison to other seasons. After breaking the heart of Atleti fans time and time again in the UCL, he’s look to do it again here, but this time with the Red Devils.
Here’s what to know about the match, the schedule for this week and our expert predictions for Wednesday’s showdown:
Wednesday’s broadcast schedule
Atletico Madrid vs. Manchester United
Date: Wednesday, Feb. 23 | Time: 3 p.m. ET | TV: CBS | Live stream: Paramount+
Odds: Atletico Madrid +145; Draw +215; Man United +205 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Featured Game | Atlético Madrid vs. Manchester United
One matchup to watch: Cristiano Ronaldo vs. José María Giménez. The Uruguayan center back will be tasked with gluing himself to the Portuguese superstar, and he’s a player who can challenge him, especially in the air. Facing an Atleti defense isn’t easy, but it has certainly been more manageable than in recent years. Diego Simeone’s side may have not conceded in the 3-0 weekend win over Osasuna, but their defensive form before that was quite shaky. There was that 1-0 loss to relegation contenders Levante, and then they conceded multiple goals in four straight matches before that. This is a defense that has dealt with so many injuries, but even when healthy they’ve been underwhelming. Ronaldo vs. Giménez will be key to the outcome of Wednesday’s match. — Roger Gonzalez
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Most likely to score a goal: Cristiano Ronaldo. He is United’s most important attacker, but there is also a ton of history there against one Real Madrid’s chief rivals. Outside of Sevilla (27), there’s not another team that Ronaldo has scored more goals against in his career, with 25 on a a scoring rate of 0.71 goals per match. He’s broken their hearts on multiple occasions, including scoring the winning penalty for Real Madrid in the 2016 Champions League final. — Roger Gonzalez
Man of the Match pick: David de Gea. The Manchester United shot-stopper, playing against his former club, makes numerous crucial saves to leave this one level ahead of the second leg. — Roger Gonzalez
Match prediction: Atletico Madrid 1, Manchester United 1. The Red Devils start the match on the front foot as they take the lead through Ronaldo (who else?), but the second-half woes continue for United as Atleti draw level late on a Luis Suarez strike. — Roger Gonzalez