Van Nistelrooy will come face-to-face with Ballotta tonight and said: "The truth is that I have great respect for Ballotta. Surely I cannot last until 43 years of age like he has at the same level. For me, he is something very special to be able to play every week... I believe that the Italian keeper is an example for us all. To continue playing at 43 years ...
"I hope that I can play for a long time also. I am enjoying this level of play a lot, to be playing for a club like Real Madrid... everything. I am 31 years old and I am going to try to play the best that I can.
"In order to obtain this, I do not have any secret other than to continue as I have until now, working hard."