CL:Real Madrid v Napoli Preview


Perhaps the tie of the round sees holders Madrid defend their enviable home record in the UEFA Champions League against Europe’s in-form team, Napoli.

Zinédine Zidane, Madrid coach
The first leg is at home and we want to take advantage, to damage our opponents’ hopes – but obviously they can do the same to us. We’re ready for it. Napoli play good football and Sarri is doing a great job as coach, evidenced by their results. It’s going to be a great game.

Everyone wants to win the Champions League but it’s a long, hard road and we’re on it. That’s the good thing. We’ve got all our players back [though the first leg comes too soon for Gareth Bale].

Maurizio Sarri, Napoli coach
We take risks if we play a defensive game or if we play with our usual style, so I don’t see why we should change. We need to be ourselves, face the match with the idea that we are facing the European champions but it’s important for us to see up to what point we can compete with sides on a world level. The first thing we need to think about is that it is beautiful to play against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu.

The only thing I would not accept would be a performance with fear. Many people ask me about the stadium. This stadium is difficult, almost mystical, but it’s the teams that have played here that were brilliant. Madrid are used to winning at home, but it’s because they’re a great side, not because of the stadium. We’ve had difficult games before, for example against Beşiktaş in Turkey, but our side can play well both at home and away. We’re quick on the counterattack but can also control games and situations.
Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Koulibaly, Albiol, Ghoulam; Zieliński, Diawara, Hamšík; Callejón, Mertens, Insigne.
Misses next match if booked: Koulibaly
Possible line-ups
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modrić; Vázquez, Benzema, Ronaldo.Out: Bale (match fitness)

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