Belfast Telegraph

Ready for Roni

By Stuart McKinley

Mark Glendinning is delighted that Cristiano Ronaldo is on his way to Belfast tonight.

Although the pair are likely to be in direct opposition, the normally rugged Glentoran left-back wanted the talented Manchester United winger to show the 14,000 crowd inside the Oval his full array of tricks.

Glendinning made his comeback from a cruciate ligament operation on Saturday and facing United in the east Belfast club's 125th anniversary celebration match is a major step on his road to recovery.

"We weren't sure what players Manchester United would send over here, but the one player everyone probably wants to see is Cristiano Ronaldo," said Glendinning.

"He really is their main man at present and he is a fantastic player to watch.

"I hope that he comes to entertain the crowd because that is what people have paid money for tickets to see.

" Ronaldo will probably do three or four stepovers before I am even able to catch him.

"Over here in the Irish League we think we are good players, but these guys are true superstars and the people who don't normally get the chance to see Premiership matches will want them to put on a show."

At 37 years old Glendinning is the oldest player in the Glentoran squad, but even he is as excited as a child on Christmas Eve at the thought of facing some of the best players in the world.

" I have been playing football for 22 years and never had the chance to come up against players like this before, so it will be great for me," he said.

"I signed for Glentoran a year or two after the tournaments involving Liverpool, Benfica and Feyenoord finished, so I never got to play against any of those teams.

"Playing against Manchester United will be one of the biggest moments of my career. I wasn't sure if I would get the chance to play in this match, but my knee felt good on Saturday and I just hope that the chance doesn't pass me by now."

Although the multi-millionaire superstars from Old Trafford will command the respect of the Glentoran team, Glendinning insists that he and his team mates won't be suffering any inferiority complex.

"At training on Monday night everyone was talking about the game and all the players will be really up for it," he said.

"It is a once in a lifetime chance to play against these players and for us as well it is a chance to show what we can do.

"It is a match to be enjoyed and that is what we will be intending to do."

Belfast Telegraph


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