Villarreal v Manchester United
Villarreal begin their first Champions League campaign against one of the most experienced teams in the competition. Opponents Manchester United will be starting their 112th game in Europe’s premier tournament.
However, striker Luciano Figueroa insists the Spanish side will not be overawed.
The Primera División side have an unbeaten record against English opposition in UEFA club competitions, and Figueroa is confident of maintaining that record.
“It was not easy to beat Everton, but I’m confident that we can also get a good result in this game,” Figueroa told uefa.com.
“We realise this will be harder because we are facing former European champions with great players, but with Juan Román Riquelme, Diego Forlán and myself in attack I think it will be very difficult for Manchester United to keep us under control for 90 minutes.”
Unfortunately for the Spanish Side, Riquelme will miss tonight’s match because of an ankle strain.
For Forlán, tonight’s encounter sees the striker face his former club for the first time sicne his move 18 months ago. After an indifferent time in Manchester, where he scored only ten goals in 63 appearances the Uruguayan rediscovered his scoring touch after his move to Spain, netting 25 Primera División goals last season to win the ESM Golden Shoe.
He said: “This is history for my new club and we must win our first game. People have asked me if starting the group against my old team is a dream come true, but my dreams are bigger – I want to go to the final, get a goal and win!”
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, will have to cope with the loss of influential skipper Roy Keane who has not traveled to Spain.
The loss of Keane is offset by the return of Cristiano Ronaldo following his father’s funeral and the Portuguese winger is expected to play. For Villarreal, Juan Pablo Sorín is fully fit and likely to start the match having come on as a second-half substitute at the weekend.