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Mar 4, 2013

Carrick relishing 'special' Real clash

Michael Carrick has said he is looking forward to a "special night" when Manchester United take on Real Madrid in the Champions League at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

With the tie in the balance after the teams drew 1-1 in the first leg at the Bernabeu, midfielder Carrick said: "These are the nights you live for."

He has lifted the Champions League trophy during his seven-year spell at United, but said some occasions would always feel "extra special" and the visit of Real - complete with former Old Trafford favourite Cristiano Ronaldo - would be one of them.

"There is just something in the air. Everyone comes to the stadium with a spring in their step," he explained.

"Every supporter is that little bit more vocal. They appreciate how important it is and what it means to get through.

"The prestige and history of the club suggests we should be challenging in the later stages of these tournaments. It is up to us to go out there and do it."

Real will have goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who has been out with an injury since the start of the year, back in their squad for the game - but Carrick could not resist focusing on former team-mate Ronaldo.

"Cristiano pretty much has everything," he said. "He can shoot with both feet, he can cross with both feet. His ability on the ball is exceptional.

"He can manoeuvre the ball and generate space for himself, and we saw in the first leg how good he is in the air. You just have defend as best you can, work as a unit and help each other out."

And he said he believed the game would be open, adding: "We both attack well and have all the threats that can create and score at any given time.

"That is the nature of the tie. Even though you might be defending well, you can never switch off. It is going to be about who takes their chances on the night."

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