13/02/2013 08:00, Report by B Hibbs & S Bibby

Video: Stopping Ronaldo

Ex-Red and football analyst Gary Neville on how to handle Cristiano Ronaldo...

“Cristiano Ronaldo is a centre-forward almost, but plays wherever he wants. But I think we have seen teams that have minimised Cristiano’s impact. Stopping the service to him is critical. When he is on the ball, which will happen in the game, it’s making sure that you don’t leave yourself one-on-one.

"When he drives at you, you know full well that if you dive in then he’ll go left or go right. If you back off, he can just take it to the side and hit it right or left. The only answer is that you need support. You need the second or the third player to come in behind you and tackle [him]. That’s not a defeatist attitude or being embarrassed. You sometimes have to recognise the greatness of a player you’re playing against.

"I’m sure Real Madrid are talking in the same way about Robin van Persie. They’ll be saying, ‘There’s no way we can leave that lad for one second in the box'. It’s not an embarrassment at times to say, ‘I need help’.

"I needed it at times. I’d pull back David Beckham, Andrei Kanchelskis or Antonio Valencia and say, ‘I’m struggling today, get in front of me and stop the service into him’. That’s the same against Cristiano. Work in numbers, close him off, deny him space and service.”


Premier League