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Cristiano Ronaldo “fires warning shot” at Manchester United with La Liga hat trick

Feb 10, 2013, 9:52 AM EDT

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo leads th

Among the words soccer followers are bound to hear in bunches this week: Champions League. Real Madrid. Manchester United.

And Cristiano Ronaldo, of course, a man with the strongest of ties to both of those clubs.

The highlight of this week’s resumption of Champions League play, as the world’s most prestigious and lucrative club team competition moves into Round-of-16 elimination play, is Real Madrid’s meeting with Manchester United.

The fabled clubs open their home-and-away series Wednesday at the Bernabeu in Madrid. Ronaldo, who made his pro bones over six seasons at Manchester United, says he’s ready, and has been for some time.

As if this juicy steak of a story needed just a little more sizzle, look how Ronaldo warmed up for the marquee mid-week meet-up: with a hat trick in Real Madrid’s 4-1 league win Saturday over Sevilla.

Just to goose the narrative, here’s the headline on the piece linked above: Real Madrid 4-1 Sevilla: Ronaldo fires warning to Man Utd with formidable hat-trick

Yes, it’s going to be a wonderful week.

Here’s the best from Saturday:

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