Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy admits he can't see himself playing at the top level at 43 years of age like Lazio goalkeeper Marco Ballotta.

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."