Monday, 30th October 2017

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Underdogs Lyon in awe of Cristiano Ronaldo before facing Juventus in UEFA Champions League

Real Madrid test for Manchester City in Santiago Bernabeu

By Agencies in Lyon
  • Published 26.02.20, 1:37 AM
  • Updated 26.02.20, 1:37 AM
  • 2 mins read
Manchester City players take part in a training session at the City Football Academy, in Manchester on Tuesday (AP)

Anthony Lopes describes Cristiano Ronaldo as “extraordinary”, and the Lyon goalkeeper knows how big a job he faces keeping his Portuguese international colleague quiet when the French side face Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday.

“I have been lucky enough to play alongside him. He is the captain and an extraordinary personality, a great man,” Lopes said when asked about playing with Ronaldo.

Lopes, 29, was born near Lyon and has spent his entire club career there. But thanks to his Portuguese roots, he has won seven caps and been to two major tournaments with Ronaldo, including Euro 2016, which Portugal won.

“I have gone to major tournaments with him, the Euro and the World Cup, where you have to develop links to those around you, and to do what he does every day is quite incredible,” Lopes added. “Players today take great inspiration from him.”

On Wednesday, Lyon host Ronaldo and the Italian giants in the first leg of their last-16 tie. Lyon are massive underdogs against a Juve side in a hurry for Champions League success given the massive investment they made in Ronaldo, who recently turned 35. Last year it was Lionel Messi who put Lyon to the sword at this stage, scoring twice as Barcelona won 5-1 in the second leg after a goalless draw in France.

“When you play Barca or Juve, the danger comes from everywhere,” Lopes said, adding: “All eyes will be on Ronaldo, especially in the stands.”

Real hazard

Manchester City will be up against both Real Madrid and their reputation on Wednesday as the Champions League’s biggest winners play one of its biggest underachievers at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Real, however, are somewhat on the backfoot as Zinedine Zidane said on Tuesday that he cannot be sure if Eden Hazard will play again this season after the Belgian suffered another foot injury last weekend. Hazard came off during Madrid’s defeat by Levante on Saturday after making only his second start following almost three months out with a fracture in the same foot.

Madrid confirmed another fracture was revealed during tests on Sunday. “I don’t know if his season is over, I don’t know but I hope not,” Zidane said.

After City's win over Leicester on Saturday, coach Pep Guardiola said: “We will try to be ourselves. We can win and we can lose but we must try to be ourselves.”