Champions League - Paper Round: Can United 'tame the Ronaldo monster'?

With the Manchester United v Real Madrid clash looming, Tuesday’s papers go to town on the Champions League showdown.

The Daily Mail focuses its coverage on Cristiano Ronaldo, picking up on Gary Neville’s analysis of Real Madrid’s prolific striker: “Tame the Ronaldo Monster” runs the slightly ridiculous headline.

The Mail also revel in the fact that Neville refers to Ronaldo as a “bully” who targets the weak spot in the defence – as if that’s somehow a deceitful and underhand way of approaching the game rather than just an aspect of Ronaldo’s tactical, technical and athletic mastery of his sport.

The Daily Telegraph, The Times and Daily Star also lead with Ronaldo, or more specifically Rio Ferdinand’s warning that returning to United will be “too emotional” for the Portuguese star and that he will not be able to produce his best.

The Sun’s back page is very different: it is dedicated to Peter Schmeichel telling Jose Mourinho that he will never manage United: “I don’t think the club would be happy with everything Mourinho brings with him,” said the Dane, reasoning that Old Trafford want an epoch-builder like Fergie rather than a hot-desker like Mourinho who, “doesn’t last more than three years.”

No doubt Mourinho, who is surely a dedicated Sun reader, will be rattled by Schmeichel’s reasoning. He may even struggle to keep down his cornflakes through his peals of laughter.

Moving on to the day’s transfer gossip, and the big story of the day is from Spanish newspaper El Confidencial which claims that Real Madrid will make a 40 million euro bid to sign Gareth Bale from Tottenham in the summer.

The same paper, incidentally, reports that Alex Ferguson himself “sees Mourinho as his ideal replacement” at United. Make of that what you will alongside Schmeichel’s comments in The Sun.

The Mail reports that Christian Eriksen has got Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham on red alert after rejecting a new deal which would have kept him at Ajax. The 21-year-old midfielder is described as “among the continent’s finest emerging talents”.

The Sun claims that Mark Schwarzer wants to leave Fulham – though considering he’s 40 we’re fairly sure Craven Cottage chiefs won’t have expected him to stick around for that much longer in any case – while the Daily Telegraph reports that Aston Villa are “freezing out” perennial misfit Stephen Ireland, forcing him to train with the youth team.

And finally, Chelsea’s Florent Malouda complains in The Sun that the “Blues are trying to destroy me”.

The player “has launched a stinging attack on “petty” Chelsea and accused them of trying to break him mentally”, the paper reports following the star’s comments to a French publication.

“If you’re left out for a year, that’s a very, very long time. It’s been done to break me mentally but it motivates me enormously,” he added, before adding with brilliant sincerity that “I am still a Chelsea player so obviously I have to be reserved in what I say.”