Jose Mourinho says Real Madrid's midweek showdown with Manchester United is the "match the world is waiting for''.
The Portuguese coach was present as United strengthened their grip on the Premier League title with a 2-0 victory over Everton, as he fine tunes preparations to face Sir Alex Ferguson's men in their Champions League last 16 tie.
Real host United at the Bernabeu on Wednesday with the return leg at Old Trafford three weeks later, and Mourinho told MUTV he hopes the clash that will pit Cristiano Ronaldo against his former club will live up to its billing.
"It is the match the world is waiting for,'' Mourinho said. "People think we are under pressure because a big team will be out. But it is the kind of match we want and the people are not waiting for any other game. I hope we give them what they want.''
Ronaldo bagged yet another hat-trick in Real's win over Sevilla on Saturday, after which Mourinho hot-footed it to Manchester. And, despite the impending battle, Mourinho was welcomed into Sir Alex Ferguson's inner sanctum prior to the 2-0 win, a sign of just how much affection the pair hold for each other.
"I feel privileged about that because he is such an important person in the world of football and, more importantly, he is good person,'' said Mourinho. "I have always had a fantastic relationship with him and I am proud of it.
"We have had so many matches between us which started with Porto. We had some with Chelsea, Inter and now Real. Some I had won, some I have lost, others I have drawn.
"Of course, I want to win and he wants to win, but I believe the loser will have a little bit of space to feel a little bit happy because of the friendship. But make no mistake, I want to win.''
Information from the Press Association was used in this report