FOOTBALL NEWS

04/03/2013 09:40, Report by James Tuck

Alonso relishes OT return

Old Trafford hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Xabi Alonso, but the Real Madrid midfielder is nevertheless looking forward to playing there on Tuesday.

The Spaniard lost on all four of his visits to United’s home with Liverpool between 2004 and 2008, coming up against current team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo in three of those.

Now Alonso is a focal point of the Real team and one of several players United will have to nullify to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

The 31-year-old said: "During my time at Liverpool, playing at Old Trafford always resulted in very intense games, which were always very important. I always enjoy playing there and, for Cristiano, who played there for many years, it is even more special."

Alonso waxed lyrical about Ronaldo, who is sure to be warmly welcomed by the fans who idolised him for six seasons.

"He is impressive in terms of his athletic qualities and his technical abilities, and he’s the most ambitious player I have met," Alonso said.

"He has great timing and a winning mentality. All of these qualities make for a player who is writing history in football. We are very fortunate to have him."

More: Sir Alex - No Place like OT

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