UCL: Real Madrid vs Manchester United Preview

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Madrid, Feb 13: The world is watching says Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho as his side face Manchester United in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League last-16 tie, while United boss Sir Alex Ferguson described the clash as the 'acid test' for his side.

All eyes are on Ronaldo as he faces his former side for the first time since his record breaking transfer move in 2009. The Portuguese superstar scored 118 goals in 292 appearances for United between 2003 and 2009. But his form for Real has been phenomenal scoring 136 goals in 123 games.

Real Madrid vs Manchester United Preview

However, despite all the attacking strengths of both sides, defence looks to play a key role in deciding this clash. Both teams have managed only one clean sheet between them in the group stage this season, United beat Galatasaray 1-0 at Old Trafford.

Real Madrid conceded nine goals in their six group matches, while United gave away sic in five games as they qualified as group winners.

The likes of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are surely going to produce goals. The United strikers are in great form recently with Rooney netting 10 goals in 10 games, while Van Persie scored 23 times in 31 matches this season.

Mourinho will also field an attacking minded team with Ronaldo, who has 32 goals in 30 games in all competitions, Angel Di Maria and Mezut Ozil in forward positions. Real will be relieved to welcome back defenders Sergio Ramos and Pepe in the staring XI.

Meanwhile, Real face a major problem in goal, with their first-choice goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas out with a broken hand.

Team News

Casillas is certain to miss the clash with a broken hand while defender Pepe has reurned to full fitness along with Sergio Ramos. Young centre back Rafael Varane is available after suffering a hamstring strain while midfielder Xabi Alonso returned after recovering from a groin problem.

United defenders Phil Jones is declared fit after taking part in a full training session while Jonny Evans will go through a late fitness test. The duo are likely to benched as Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic are liekly to play in the heart of defence.

Paul Scholes miss the clash with Darren Fletcher but winger Ashley Young and midfielder Michael Carrick have recovered from knee and hip injuries respectively.

Trivia:

* Real Madrid have won three of their last eight meetings with Manchester United.

* Manchester United record in Spain reads W2 D8 L10.

* Sir Alex Ferguson has won just two games against Real MAdrid boss Jose Mourinho W2 D6 L6.

* Real have won eight of the last nine Champions League home matches.

* David de Gea has conceded 11 goals to Real in his five games for Atletico Madrid.

* 18 players have scored for Manchester United this season, 16 for Real Madrid.

Probable Lineups:

Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Alves-Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao-Khedira, Alonso-Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo-Benzema

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea-Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra-Carrick, Jones-Kagawa, Rooney, Valencia-Van Persie

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