Cesar Azpilicueta recalls nightmare of facing Cristiano Ronaldo 11 years ago when he played for Spanish side Osasuna
IT is more than 11 years since Cesar Azpilicueta played against Cristiano Ronaldo.
And the Chelsea captain will be keen to avoid a repeat of what happened when they met in LaLiga back in May 2010.
Azpilicueta said: “I played against him when I was at Osasuna and he was at Real Madrid.
“I don’t remember the score. Maybe in the Bernabeu we lost!”
Indeed they did. Osasuna took an early lead but Ronaldo equalised after twisting an equally fresh-faced Azpilicueta this way and that, then firing in a low shot.
The score was 2-2 by half-time and remained that way until Ronaldo headed an 89th-minute winner.
More recently, in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup, Azpilicueta was watching from the Spain bench when Ronaldo completed a hat-trick with a late free-kick equaliser for Portugal in a 3-3 draw.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has kept up that happy habit of grabbing crucial late goals since rejoining United.
Azpilicueta added: “He’s a player that can be dangerous at any time, so we have to be very careful.
“He has a great ability to find spaces, he can shoot right and left and he’s a very good header of the ball.
“We are lucky to be in the best league in the world, playing against very tough opponents. Every day you face different challenges.
“To be part of the era where we have faced Cristiano and Messi is great but you always have to be on your toes because they are very dangerous.”