April 05, 2011
Real Madrid vs Tottenham Hotspur (Latest News & Squad List)
The most important match of the season is upon us. In the words of Mourinho, it’s "a match that a lot of people want to play in but are unable to." The message sent by the head coach, Arbeloa, Carvalho and Xabi Alonso has certainly hit home, and Madridistas expect another clean sheet performance to follow the four previous Champions League matches played at the Bernabeu this season. Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo and Kaka will all suit up having recovered from injury.
There’s no greater motivation than qualifying for their first Champions League semifinal berth in eight years. The team knows it as do the fans. "We yearn for a Bernabeu that drives us to victory; don’t miss it," commented Arbeloa, who is more than familiar with the atmosphere that awaits. With tickets practically sold out and so much on the line, Madridistas are sure to turn out in full force in support of their team.
Only Tottenham stand in Real Madrid’s way. While Mourinho recovered some key pieces to his tactical game, the same can be said for Harry Redknapp, who will see both Gareth Bale and William Gallas dress. Former Madridista Rafael van der Vaart expressed the sentiment with which Spurs made the trip to the Spanish capital. "We have nothing to lose," he commented to the media.
Spurs have lost on all five previous occasions against Mourinho, but against Milan they proved they are more than capable of winning on the road. Despite not winning as visitors in the group stage, they did score a total of eight goals and along with Real Madrid Spurs currently lead the Champions League with 19 goals scored to date. With players of the likes of Modric, Van der Vaart, Lennon, Bale, Defoe, Pavlyuchenko and Crouch, the Whites will have their hands full come Tuesday.
Combining Spurs’ offensive fire power with the added value of scoring as visitors, keeping a clean sheet will be crucial to Real Madrid’s chances. Mourinho’s men are well versed at not conceding goals in Champions League play and they hope to maintain their form against Tottenham. The players yearn for a "Bernabeu that drives them to victory" and the fans can almost smell the semifinals in the distance. Stick the two together under the same roof and they can make it happen.