Cristiano Ronaldo will be keen to get one over on Barcelona manager Xavi after previous comparisons between him and Lionel Messi.
Manchester United will take on the Catalan giants in the Europa League knockout play-offs next year, for a place in the last-16 of the competition.
The Red Devils could only finish second in Group E of the Europa League, with Real Sociedad claiming top spot with a superior goal difference of one.
That put them into the knockout round, which has thrown up a blockbuster tie between the European behemoths.
Should Ronaldo remain at Old Trafford beyond January, it would see the 37-year-old take on Barca yet again, having done so on many occasions in the colours of Real Madrid.
The Portugal international boasts a record of 20 goals in 34 appearances against the Blaugrana in all competitions, and will be keen to dump them out of the Europe’s second-tier competition.
Ronaldo is set to renew hostilities with Xavi, with the current Barca boss previously claiming there is no comparing the Man United icon and his former teammate, Messi, as the latter is clearly better.
Xavi told Cadena SER in 2016: “Ronaldo is extraordinary but compared to Messi, for me and for everyone who likes football, there can be no comparisons.
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“Messi will be number one until he wants to stop. He’s superior to everyone, unless you support Real Madrid.”
Ronaldo did take the opportunity to hit back at Xavi, following Real Madrid’s 5-2 victory over Osasuna in LaLiga at the time.
“Everyone knows that if they want to get on the front page they have to speak about me. He doesn’t have any Ballons d’Or and I have three,” Ronaldo told AS post-match at the time.
He added: “Why is Xavi relevant? He plays in Qatar. I’m the most searched-for sportsman on social media.”
Xavi never managed to get his hands on the Ballon d’Or during his career, but he did win seven LaLiga titles and four Champions League titles.
The comments back in 2016 will only add the fuel the fire when Man United and Barcelona lock horns in Europe’s second-tier competition next year.
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- ‘Why is Xavi relevant?’ – Cristiano Ronaldo to renew Barcelona rivalry and seek revenge after Lionel Messi comment
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