By FOX Sports Staff
The two players will do battle when United visit Real Madrid for their Champions League round of 16 first leg tie. Rafael knows that the speedy winger specialises in terrorising defences by cutting in from the left and therefore it will be his responsibility to mark Ronaldo out of the game.
For many defenders, this has proved to be a task too difficult to handle and Manchester City's Maicon was hopelessly outmatched in this regard when he met the Portuguese star during the group stages.
But Rafael, who has had to deal with a similar player in Gareth Bale in the Premier League this season, feels it is just a matter of concentration when dealing with Ronaldo's threat.
“I know what he can do because I played and trained with him a lot," the youngster told the Sun.
"So he’s not the type of opponent where you would say ‘He is good but I don’t know what he can do’ — I know what he can do.”
“If you concentrate, that’s the key, reading the game.
“They [Ronaldo and Bale] are both very quick but maybe they are just different. Ronaldo is right-footed and plays a different type of game.
“He can come inside and shoot with power but both of them are tough players to come up against.”
He was backed up by senior defender Rio Ferdinand, himself a former colleague of Ronaldo during his time at United in the last decade. Ferdinand believes that Ronaldo may not shine on the night as meeting his former team-mates on the pitch for the first time since making the move to Spain might be too overwhleming an emotional challenge.
"It’s obviously going to be an emotional night for Ronaldo and a great night for him, too. But, hopefully, it gets too emotional for him," Ferdinand commented.
“He has a great rapport with the fans and there is a mutual respect between them both, which is great.”
Ronaldo has prepared for the battle in fine form as he scored a hat-trick against Sevilla on Sunday.