Manchester United vs. Real Madrid: Latest Team News, Tweets and Buildup

Joe Krishnan@joekrishnanContributor IMarch 5, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 13:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid is put under pressure by Jonny Evans and Phil Jones of Manchester United  during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 13, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Tuesday has arrived. And you know what that means?

It means that it's finally here. The Clash of the Titans: The Second Coming is finally upon us after the thrilling 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu two weeks ago.

That's right. We're gearing up for what has been been described as the most important clash for both Manchester United and Real Madrid so far this season.

On the one hand, you have Manchester United; a defiant, quality and energetic side with the capability of beating any team in the world on their day.

And on the other, faltering one lies Real Madrid, struggling domestically in third place after their superb La Liga title victory last season under Jose Mourinho. 

Sometimes, the attention in the media is a greater deal than the actual spectacle itself. And that's certainly the case here.

Many questions will be asked about the home side before kick-off, and Sir Alex Ferguson will need to make some big decisions, there is no doubt about that.

The legendary Scot is almost designed to be in charge for these big occasions, but even he will be feeling the heat.

For example, could he really drop Daniel Welbeck after his crucial away goal in the first leg? Can Ryan Giggs score in his 1,000th Manchester United game? Will Robin van Persie end his barren spell of four games without a goal?

A nice statistic here which could work in Manchester United's favor on Tuesday evening: The Red Devils have never failed to score at home when Robin van Persie has played.

Many newswires around the globe will be pushing their microphones to the front of the queue in order to get a word from former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo, making his first competitive return to Old Trafford since his £80 million world record transfer in the summer of 2009.

While we all wait with eager anticipation, the cool and composed figure of Ronaldo has played down the occasion of his impending return. He did, however, tweet a message to the fans with a photo of himself appearing to be in good spirits.

And while there has been much talk about his team-mate's much-hyped return, Xabi Alonso has dismissed the idea of the 28-year-old getting caught up in the emotions.

The former Liverpool man was quoted in The Mirror saying: "Before the game I think he'll get a great reception but once kick-off starts, he'll just be thinking about doing the best for our team. Hopefully it will be a great night for him.

"It's very different to play with Cristiano than against him. I've [played] against him and with him, and I'm lucky enough to say he's on my side and I'm pleased to have him on my side.

"He's in terrific form and he's looking forward to tomorrow. In his mind is just to play a good game and to get through this stage."

Meanwhile, Portuguese defender Pepe has talked up Los Merengues' chances and expressed his belief that Real Madrid's 3-1 win over Barcelona gives them the psychological advantage going into the game. (Eircom)

“This will spur us on for the clash with Manchester United,” Pepe said. “We have won two very important matches against a tough rival by playing well, and this has boosted our confidence for the game against United.” 

His defensive partner Sergio Ramos echoed his thoughts, adding: "This is a great moment for us and we have to make the most of that. Psychologically, the team has been strengthened by the Clasicos and we will go to Manchester convinced we can go through. We know we can."

The Real Madrid official website also produced a treat for us today, informing us that powerful president Florentino Perez has arrived in Manchester and met with fans at a hotel in the city. 

Jose Mourinho played the safe option in his press conference on Monday, opting to take the pressure off his Real Madrid side and place it all on their opponents. "The Special One" made a rare appearance, with his assistant Aitor Karanka usually sent to take questions, but Mourinho's timing is usually impeccable.

And he'll be hoping, more than anybody, that he gets it right again on Tuesday when two of the world's best clubs go head-to-head.

It's going to be a cracker, folks. Do not miss it for the world.