Page last updated at 08:05 GMT, Monday, 20 July 2009 09:05 UK

Crist almighty - Hoops have Real match

Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo tries to play hurling. They play Shamrock Rovers on Monday night.

He's been practising his hurling, but Cristiano Ronaldo, will have to leave the stick in the changing room when Real Madrid take on top flight Irish side Shamrock Rovers.

Ronaldo is expected to make his debut for Spanish giants Real Madrid at a pre-season friendly against the south Dublin side.

Almost 11,000 fans have snapped up tickets for the match between one of the world's richest clubs and a side which was staring into the financial abyss just four years ago.

After going into examinership in 2005 the club, founded in 1901, was bought by the 400 Club, a supporters trust.

It is hoped the 24-year-old Portuguese star, who transferred from Manchester United in a world record-breaking £80 million (93 million euro) summer signing, will be in the starting line up against the Hoops in Tallaght Stadium.

Karim Benzema, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Gabriel Heinze, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben are also in the Real squad.

Fans have been warned that with capacity at the stadium stretched from the usual 3,000 to give themselves plenty of time to get to and from the ground.

The added temporary seating has also narrowed the playing field.

Odds

Bookies are, unsurprisingly, backing Real with Shamrock Rovers getting odds of 14/1 for a win.

Ronaldo and his teammates touched down in Dublin last Monday night for a nine-day training camp at Carton House, County Kildare.

Rovers' spokesman John Byrne said the sudden worldwide attention on the club has not distracted players from their important League of Ireland games.

On Saturday the Hoops had a comfortable 3-0 over Sligo Town which took them just two points behind leaders Bohemian FC, who they play next weekend.

Mr Byrne said players will enjoy the high profile match and have a bit of fun.

"It is nice for them to pitch themselves out against the top players in the world," he said.

"The manager wants to give everybody a go, so all 22 of them will get about half an hour each.

"Scoring isn't important for this one, it's more the experience."

While Real Madrid spent more than 200 million euro on their new host of new Galacticos this summer, players at Shamrock Rovers were still coming to terms with having a home ground.

The club moved in to Tallaght Stadium in March after being homeless for 22 years.

Hoops fan Tony Berney said he was hoping Real Madrid put its best players out.

"We also want to see our best players put out," he added.

"But it is still only a friendly, next week's game league is very important to us."



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