CRISTIANO RONALDO might be wondering what could have been as he steps onto the Etihad today.
For a crazy few days in August, the Portuguese legend looked like he might do the unthinkable and sign for Manchester City.
After it became clear they couldn’t sign Harry Kane, Pep Guardiola toyed with the idea of moving for Ronaldo instead.
United simply couldn’t let that happen and made a dramatic move to bring him ‘home’ to Old Trafford instead.
We’ll never know how different things could have been if the 37-year-old had been pushing for a move to the reigning champions instead.
But he knows he faced City in November, what an impressive team he almost joined.
And four months later, the ‘loud neighbours’ are chasing a treble – while United face an uphill battle just to make the top four.
Of course, United could – in theory – win the Champions League this season and earn a return ticket for next season.
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But few expect to be anywhere near that – and Ronaldo could be forgiven for looking at what he’s been missing out on.
The former Real Madrid ace has scored just one goal in the calendar year so far – and his place in the Red Devils’ starting XI has been put to the test.
Yet if you know him, you wouldn’t be surprised if he took center stage in the derby by hitting the net.
Without a doubt, his team will be second favorites against the current league leaders.
Despite losing to Tottenham in their last home game, City have failed to win just two of their last 16 games in all competitions.
But the fans who make the short journey across town will not be entirely without hope.
This is the third straight year these two old rivals have faced each other in the first days of March – and the Reds have prevailed over the previous two days.
They won 2-0 at Old Trafford on a rainy day just before lockdown two years ago.
Then, 12 months ago, they won by the same score – halting City’s 21-game winning streak in the process.
Indeed, the Etihad has been a happy hunting ground for United in recent years – the Blues have won just one of their last seven home derbies.
If United can do it again on Sunday, the cheers on the M62 at Anfield will be just as loud as if it were giving Jurgen Klopp’s men the initiative in the title race.
The scenery is set for a tense afternoon in the northwest.
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https://www.the-sun.com/sport/football/premier-league/4823153/cristiano-ronaldo-man-utd-derby-man-city/ Cristiano Ronaldo can be forgiven for checking out what he missed at Man City as United prepared for the derby