Cristiano Ronaldo has struck 10 goals in all competitions for Manchester United and Aaron Ramsdale wants the Portuguese in his best form when the pair meet in December
Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale says he is relishing facing Cristiano Ronaldo for the first time in his career, and has urged the Manchester United star to find his best form ahead of their upcoming clash.
The Gunners travel to Old Trafford to face managerless Man United on Thursday evening knowing that incoming caretaker boss Ralf Rangnick could be in the dugout for the first time.
Mikel Arteta’s side had been on a 10-game unbeaten run since losing their first three matches of the season, before going down 4-0 to Liverpool last time out at Anfield.
But they could face a difficult task in keeping Ronaldo quiet, with the 36-year-old netting four goals in his nine Premier League appearances since returning to the club this summer.
And after admitting he did not think it would be possible to play against the Portuguese superstar in his career, the shot stopper hopes Ronaldo will be at the top of his game when the pair meet.
“I’d never thought I’d play against Ronaldo,” Ramsdale said, speaking from Amazon’s Black Friday Live event.
“But I really hope he’s on it against us because it gives me a chance to test myself.
“As much as you want to go somewhere like Old Trafford, there’s no better feeling than getting on top of someone and saying ‘I’ve had a full-on battle with Ronaldo’.”
Ramsdale has proved his critics wrong along with his manager Arteta, who appeared to be on the brink after overseeing their worst-ever start to a Premier League campaign.
He was signed from Sheffield United for £24million this summer and quickly usurped Bernd Leno as Arsenal’s undisputed first-choice goalkeeper.
The move came as a surprise after Ramsdale was relegated for the second successive season, after suffering the same fate with Bournemouth in 2019-20.
But the England international has been one of the stars of the north London club’s season so far, keeping five clean sheets in nine Premier League games and shipping only eight goals.
The squad have undergone something of a revival under Arteta and now have their sights set on a top-four finish, as they are only three points behind fourth-placed West Ham.
And the 23-year-old believes that with youngsters Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka thriving and their summer signings gradually gelling together, Arsenal are finally showing what they are made of.
“You look at some of players over the past few weeks who have been quite pivotal like Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka. They are sort of kids,” he added.
“We’re proving people wrong each week and aren’t putting a ceiling to where we can take ourselves and how well we can do.
“I think because Mikel’s come out of the game fairly recently, he’s got great management skills.
“He’s very approachable and has worked with arguably one of the best coaches in the world.”