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A draw was enough to send Madrid through and City are playing for pride, and no more, in Germany next month.
As it stands, without a win, they will finish bottom of the group and not even qualify for the Europa League. Minus the distraction of Europe, City can concentrate on what they do best: defeating English opposition.
Perhaps that is what makes their three points from a possible 15 —with a dead-rubber trip to Dortmund to come — so unsettling.
Forget what it says about them; what does it say about us, our league, the one some conceitedly imagine still to be the best in Europe?
Manchester made Ronaldo, the red half of it anyway, and it is questionable whether their blue-nosed neighbours would have been allowed to get quite so noisy had he remained at Old Trafford.
Sir Alex Ferguson thinks his is a talent that cannot be bought but if any club have the money to test that theory it is City. As Ronaldo teased and twisted, skipped away from danger, threatened every time he got over the ball, what self-respecting owner-billionaire could be immune to his charms?
Ronaldo, like his pantomime villain manager Jose Mourinho on the touchline, didn’t disappoint on his return to the city that took his raw talent and moulded an unstoppable force.
Ronaldo has averaged more than a goal a game since joining Madrid, but the Spaniards signed the finished article.
Mancini’s plan A — three at the back — was again consigned to the waste bin, hastily reshot as a back four not long after Real Madrid scored.
‘Taxi for Maicon,’ Tottenham Hotspur supporters had sung mockingly after Gareth Bale laid waste to Inter Milan at White Hart Lane two years ago, and having exchanged Serie A for the Premier League, his experience against Cristiano Ronaldo was no less edifying.
The cavalry arrived in the form of Vincent Kompany, but Ronaldo made a chump of him, too.