Millennium Post

Titans set to better the battle!

The world’s richest football clubs Real Madrid and Manchester United meet on Wednesday in a Champions League last 16 first-leg tie described by Jose Mourinho as ‘the match the world is waiting for’.

Alex Ferguson takes his United side to the Spanish capital after extending their lead at the top of the Premier League to 12 points with Sunday’s 2-0 win at home to Everton.

‘The world is not waiting for other matches in the Champions League so I hope we can give the world what they are waiting for,’ purred Madrid boss Mourinho.

The meeting also marks the latest instalment in the Ferguson-Mourinho duel with the Scot emerging triumphant last time the pair locked horns as United disptached Mourinho’s former employers Inter Milan 2-0 on aggregate at the same stage of the 2008-09 competition.

His current Madrid side is sixteen points behind Barcelona in La Liga and only the delivery of a tenth Champions League title to the famous old club would be enough to appease his critics in the Spanish capital.

Mourinho’s reign at Madrid has been a tumultuous one this season, with a series of dressing room disputes between the Portuguese coach and his players.

However, one of the club’s captains Sergio Ramos feels the tension in the Madrid camp has been overplayed and that his team are motivated for the United game.

‘It’s more a case of things that people said that weren’t true than a reality of conflicts in the dressing room,’ Ramos told English Sunday newspaper ‘The Observer’.

‘If there are problems in the dressing room or if the relationship is bad and stories are published that can create issues and affect you, it generates a problem. ‘But when there are no problems and people invent it, it does not matter,’ added Ramos.

Cristiano Ronaldo will face his old club on the back of another hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Sevilla on Saturday and his attacking partner Gonzalo Higuain is convinced their side can beat United in the Bernabeu.

‘With our individual quality and counter-attacking play we can do a lot of damage to United. We have to keep it solid at the back,’ he said.

United are undefeated in fourteen games and Ferdinand said that former team-mate Ronaldo is the key man to stop. ‘You get as many people around the ball when he’s got it as possible, but Madrid are that good a side you have to make sure you’re set up right and that your team are in good positions all over the pitch to defend.’


Borussia Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp has insisted his side will bounce back at Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday in their Champions League Last 16 first leg clash following a heavy home defeat by Hamburg. Dortmund went down 4-1 at home on Saturday as they conceded four goals without reply at the hands of Hamburg and now face a tough trip to Ukraine. ‘We weren’t good against Hamburg and deserved to lose, we’ll be better on Wednesday,’ said Klopp with his side looking to reach the last eight for the first time since 1998, when as defending champions they lost in the semi-finals against Real Madrid. Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu said his team will have to produce something special to beat Dortmund. ‘Dortmund won the strongest group in this season’s competition and that gives you an idea of how good they are.’
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