Preview: Real Madrid vs Man Utd CL 1st Leg




TKTG brings together all the best articles previewing tonight’s Champions League Round of 16 clash between Real Madrid and Manchester United at the Bernabeu.


BBC Sport:  

Sir Alex Ferguson says “getting through” the first leg of their Champions League tie with Real Madrid is key to Manchester United reclaiming a title they last won in 2008.

Ferguson was in confident mood ahead of Wednesday’s last-16, first-leg clash with Jose Mourinho’s side in Spain.

He said: “The acid test is this game – I have no doubts about that.

“It is unfortunate that we are meeting as early as this. I wish it had been at Wembley [in the final in May].”

Ferguson is aiming to leave Madrid with a manageable result to take back to Old Trafford for the second leg in three weeks’ time.

He added: “Jose summed it up perfectly. It is a game everyone has been waiting for.

“It is a game that is a fantastic challenge for myself and it should be a fantastic match between two teams and two clubs who embrace the best parts of football.”

And Ferguson expects the game to live up to the expectations of both managers and the watching world.

Continue reading the BBC Sport report by Phil McNulty

When Manchester United travel to the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night, their chances of beating reigning Spanish champions Real Madrid hinge on their ability to stop one man: Cristiano Ronaldo.

That is not to suggest that Jose Mourinho’s side are a one-man team – far from it – but Los Blancos boast a 76 per cent win rate in matches in which the Portuguese attacker has scored this season, while they have won just 28% of the games in which he has failed to find the back of the net.

Of the 14 matches in which Ronaldo has been neutralised, Madrid have won just four and those victories came against sides with an average La Liga position of 11.5. Stop Ronaldo, stop Real.

That is, of course, easier said than done. But there is a sense that Sir Alex Ferguson has been planning for the return of Old Trafford’s prodigal son for some time and has used both Tottenham’s Ronaldo prototype, Gareth Bale, and Everton’s Marouane Fellaini as practice.

Continue reading the report by Ewan Roberts



Manchester United have left Paul Scholes out of their 22-man squad which travelled to Spain for the Champions League game against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

But Sir Alex Ferguson has been handed a boost with both Phil Jones and Jonny Evans taking part in training on Tuesday. The duo were both taken off during Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Everton, with Jones having suffered what Sir Alex Ferguson described as a “kick on the calf” and Evans having “a bit of cramp”.

Ferguson said both players would be monitored ahead of the trip the Bernabeu, but it would appear they will be available after coming through training on Tuesday. Scholes and Ashley Young also played a full part in the session, which took place in Manchester, but the former was deemed unfit to travel.

Continue reading the ESPNFC report


Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp has said the key to beating Real Madrid is not stopping goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo but taking playmaker Xabi Alonso out of the game.

Dortmund beat Madrid 2-1 at home and drew 2-2 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu during this season’s Champions League group stages, when an 89th-minute Mesut Ozil free-kick was needed to get just a point for Jose Mourinho’s side.

 Speaking to El Pais in the run-up to Madrid’s last-16 first leg against Manchester United at the Bernabeu on Wednesday evening, the Borussia boss said his tactics for the games against Madrid had revolved around making sure Alonso did not have the time and space to launch his more attacking team-mates, including Ronaldo, into space with long accurate passes.

 “We knew where they would send their passes, how they look for Cristiano,” Klopp said. “Our plan was to take Xabi [Alonso] out of the game. Because if Alonso can play as he wants it is impossible to defend against Madrid. And [Mario] Gotze covered him. We knew that if our full-backs, [Lukasz] Piszczek and [Marcel] Schmelzer, moved around a lot, the advantage would be on our side against Cristiano. If you block Xabi, you make it so Pepe always has the ball. That is a big difference.”

Read the rest of ESPNFC’s report by Dermot Corrigan


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