Real Madrid vs. Manchester United: The clash of the European giants

Posted: February 13, 2013 in Previews
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Real Madrid vs. Manchester United:  The clash of the European giants

February 13, 2013 7:45 PM UTC
Estadio Santiago Bernabéu — Madrid
Referee:‬ F. Brych‎


The wait is finally over.  The champions league is back and what’s more enticing than the two most valuable clubs in the world facing each other in the knockout stages.

Real Madrid comfortably defeated Sevilla 4-1 while Manchester United also emerged 2-0 winners against Everton over the weekend. United’s victory has elevated them to a comfortable 12 point lead whereas Madrid still trail arch-rivals Barcelona by 16 points.

Ronaldo is in devastating form, scoring a hat-trick inside 60 minutes before being substituted by Mourinho against Sevilla. United have to be extremely wary of their former player of the year as Ronaldo’s good form, more often than not, translates to good fortune for Madrid.

Young Raphael Da silva has been handed the responsibility to stop the Portuguese forward from wrecking United’s bid for the Champions league.

Wayne Rooney will have to be at his best if the Red Devils hope to overcome the reigning Spanish Champions. Rooney has been deployed in a deeper role by Ferguson this season. To the Scotsman’s great relief, the move has proved to be massive success. His excellent work-rate coupled with the ability to produce dismantling passes has helped United in breaking many mean defenses. The Englishman’s tendency to fall back and assist the defense also lets Robin Van Persie to linger freely around the opposing defense.


Robin Van Persie has flourished as a lone striker at his new club. A role he is exceedingly familiar with; since his time at Arsenal. The Dutchman just cannot stop scoring. He leads the goal scoring charts in  the EPL with 19 goals this term; thanks to his clinical finishing and intelligent movement around the box.

Both the sides Defenses have looked complacent throughout the season. Madrid have conceded 22 in 23 league matches whereas United’s defense has been penetrated 31 times in 26 league games.

United’s inspirational captain Nemanja Vidic returned to the starting lineup against Everton and looked solid throughout the game. The Serbian needs to put in a brilliant performance to stop Madrid from scoring. When the Serbian was missing from action, United’s defense looked increasingly cumbersome against testing attacks. United’s defensive arbiter couldn’t have returned at a better time than this.

Madrid can find solace in the promising young figure of Raphael Varane, who is seemingly getting better after every match. While Sergio Ramos has struggled to recreate the form he displayed last season, severely deflating Madrid’s title defense  However, the French centre back looks like an unfinished gem vying for the final polish…


Varane was the man of the match in the recent el classico, outshining both Messi and Ronaldo.

Kaka put in a good shift over the weekend against Sevilla, but Mourinho usually doesn’t start the Brazilian against big teams; disappointing millions of fans world over. One who might be smirking at the predicament is Luka Modric. Even though he has looked out of form since forever, he holds invaluable experience of playing in the premier league day in day out for years. No-one knows who will start this Wednesday but we’ll have the answer sooner than later…

United goalkeeper De Gea might be sweating over the prospect of facing Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese has a well-deserved reputation of scoring then and again from distance; his deadly shots are known to catch keepers by surprise; lacerating their confidence.  De Gea needs to hold his own against one of the best strikers of the ball, if United are to have a chance at taking anything away from the Bernabéu.


Ronaldo has had 39 shots in this year’s champions league, 25 more than any united player in the competition.

One factor that might influence the game is match fitness. Sir Alex fielded his strongest lineup over the weekend; a move that might backfire. Real Madrid played safe, as influential playmaker Ozil was rested whereas Ronaldo and Benzema were recalled to the bench relatively early. The clash is anticipated to be a strenuous meeting. Each team will try to capitalize at any errors in defense and even a short lapse in concentration can prove to be the difference.

The mouth watering encounter promises something special.  Every football fan around the world is looking forward to Ronaldo facing the club that made him into the global superstar he is today. Both sets of fans better not expect any harmony as it’s going to be a heated fixture; progression in the champions league is profound for the two clubs. What excites us is the question, who will reign supreme and how will that transpire?

  1. FutbolPulse says:

    Can’t wait! Hope United emerge victorious! 🙂

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