UEFA Champions League: Real Madrid vs Barcelona - Preview

Written by: Biswajeet Panda
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Lionel Messi
Madrid, April 27: With the business end of the UEFA Champions League drawing to its end, some really exciting battles are set to capture the football fans imagination. With Manchester United getting the better of Schalke 04, in their first of the two-leg semi-final clash, all eyes are now set on the mother of all football clashes, i.e Real Madrid vs Barcelona.

The La Liga sides, also arch rivals will renew their hostility in their first match of the two-leg semi-final clash on April 27.

History may point to the successes enjoyed by Barcelona, also known as the Catalans but the recent improvement in the records have certainly buoyed Real Madrid. Real held the Catalans for a 1-1 draw on April 16 after the humiliating 5-0 loss to the same opponents in November 2010.

Despite the lopsided history of contests between the sides pointing to Barcelona, Real manager Jose Mourinho sounded upbeat. He was quoted as saying, "We can take them on over two games; we have just done that. There is no reason we can't beat them in the Champions League because we have just drawn once against them and then beaten them."

Despite all the successes that Barcelona have against the Real Madrid, there is still a bit of history that they would like to change this time around. In the two previous semi-final encounters between the two sides in the 1960 European Cup and the 2002 Champions League, Barcelona have been on the wrong end of the finishing line.

Barca coach, Pep Guardiola admitting that his side was feeling a bit tired at the end of a long and gruelling season, sounded optimistic of his team's prospect and said, "We won't be going to Madrid in the best physical shape, but we'll go there with a lot of enthusiasm and we have a lot of belief in ourselves...We accept that Madrid may be favourites, but we will go to the Bernabeu to attack, score goals and try to win the game."

And despite the battle between the two giant sides with a bit of history between them, the spotlight will once again be on the duel between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

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