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Pep Guardiola wary of Cristiano Ronaldo threat ahead of Manchester derby

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has acknowledged that his team could have a tricky derby with the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo in the Manchester United ranks.

Ronaldo made his surprise return to United after 12 years over the summer.

The Portuguese was initially fancied to join the Cityzens, but his preference was always to return to Old Trafford.

The 36-year-old has since played a pivotal role for the club across all competitions.

In his 12 appearances, he has already amassed nine goals alongside one assist.

The Portuguese has particularly flourished in the Champions League with late winners against Villarreal and Atalanta at home.

He also bagged a vital stoppage-time equaliser against Atalanta in midweek.

Ahead of the first Manchester derby of the season, Guardiola said that the Cityzens could be up for a testing challenge.

He added to describe Ronaldo as one of the best players in history, who can be a scoring machine.

He said in a press conference via Manchester Evening News: “I didn’t see the United match [against Atalanta], I’m going to analyse and to see what they are so I know how good they are. “

“We saw it last season. They have one of the best players in history [Ronaldo], a guy who can be a scoring machine.”

Our view:

Ronaldo struggled during the recent league encounter against Liverpool, where the Red Devils suffered an embarrassing 5-0 defeat at Old Trafford.

He made amends against Tottenham Hotspur with a sublime volley to open the scoring before a delightful assist for Edinson Cavani to make it 2-0.

The €45 million-rated star followed up with another stellar display in Bergamo. He singlehandedly secured a point against Atalanta with a brace.

There definitely appears a dependence on Ronaldo up front, but he has delivered more often than not since his homecoming.

The Red Devils are currently unbeaten in their last four Manchester derbies in the league, winning three and drawing one.

Ronaldo has had a good record against the Cityzens over the years, with five goals and three assists from 14 appearances.

He will have a big role to play up front against Guardiola’s side, particularly with the defence struggling to shut down opponents.

They have kept just one clean sheet in 12 games. Raphael Varane’s absence through injury is a big blow ahead of the derby.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com and 11v11.com.

Read: Manchester United fans react to Eric Bailly’s Champions League performance vs Atalanta.

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