UEFA Champions League 2016/17: Sporting Lisbon plan tribute to welcome Cristiano Ronaldo 'home'
Cristiano Ronaldo will be welcomed back ‘home’ by Sporting Clube de Portugal when Real Madrid face them in the UEFA Champions League tonight. The Portuguese club are planning to pay tribute to one of their favourite sons, who has gone on to become arguably the best footballer in the world.
Speaking to the COPE radio station, Sporting’s president, De Carvalho said, “We have prepared something to welcome Cristiano, but we will have to wait and see how much we can do with the UEFA rules. He is a Sporting man and he will feel our support whenever he returns here. I think it will be beautiful and that the people will appreciate what we are going to do for one of our own.”
The UEFA rules that De Carvalho was referring to have clamped down massively on flares and banners by the crowds, which has already seen Real Madrid’s Group F opponents, Legia Warsaw come under punishment by the UEFA governing body.
Ronaldo spent six years with Sporting Lisbon, being moulded into the superstar he is from 1997 to 2003, before he joined Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United before making a world record move to Real Madrid a few years later.
Sporting would love to have Ronaldo back one day
Cristiano Ronaldo has never been shy of his love for Sporting, revealing that he still is a member of the club. While the Portuguese club are always in his heart, Ronaldo is determined to see out his career at Real Madrid, having recently signed a megabucks contract with the club that should keep him in Spain until he is 36.
Yet, De Carvalho is still optimistic about an eventual reunion, saying “Cristiano is like a son to us and we would love to have him back at some stage.”
Ronaldo famously did not celebrate his late equaliser against Sporting when the two sides met in the UEFA Champions League group stage game in September. Alvaro Morata’s goal in injury time subsequently gave Real Madrid a 2-1 win, after Sporting had taken a well-deserved lead in the second half.
De Carvalho wishes Ronaldo the best, but only upto a point, saying "We hope that he will not score this time. I really liked our performance in the reverse fixture at the Santiago Bernabeu. I hope for a similar performance, but with a different ending."
Relive Cristiano Ronaldo's best moments for Sporting Lisbon here:
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