We're not afraid of the Spanish armada of stars, says Welsh wizard Giggs

  • Other Sport
  • Wednesday, 23 Apr 2003

MANCHESTER: Ryan Giggs has dismissed suggestions that Manchester United might be intimidated by Real Madrid's galaxy of stars. 

United were outclassed by Real in their Champions League quarter-final first leg tie in Spain a fortnight ago and were lucky to escape with only a two-goal deficit to make up in the return match today. 

“I certainly disagree with the idea that Madrid are a much better side than us,” Giggs told the Man United website. 

“You would expect a side with that depth of talent and playing at home to try to make home advantage tell. That said, we are a quality side and on our night we are a match for anyone in Europe.” 

Ruud van Nistelrooy, who scored in Madrid, Giggs himself, Roy Keane and David Beckham need to prove they can be mentioned in the same breath as Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo. 

“As a player you relish the chance to play and measure yourself against the best players around,” Giggs said. 

“The likes of Ronaldo, Zidane, Raul and Figo ... who wouldn't want players like that in their side? But we have some world-class players ourselves, we're not daunted by the prospect of facing them. We're relishing it.” 

United had a stroke of luck on Monday when Real striker Raul had to go to hospital for an emergency appendicitis operation and Juan Sebastian Veron said he expected to be fit to turn out for United. 

The Argentine midfielder has been recovering from a knee ligament injury picked up against Leeds at the beginning of last month. 

United might have to face Real with a Spanish goalkeeper as No 1 keeper Fabien Barthez is fighting to overcome a thigh injury suffered in the 3-1 win against Blackburn Rovers at the weekend. 

If the Frenchman fails to regain fitness for the visit of Real, then Ricardo will be thrown into the fray. 

On Saturday, Ricardo made his Premiership bow against Blackburn and gave away a third penalty in four appearances before redeeming himself with a vital save from the spot-kick. – AFP 

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