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Real Madrid v Manchester United: The Perfect Match?

With the excitement of a mammoth Champions League tie between two European giants growing ever greater, Sky Sports has branded the occasion as “The Perfect Match”. There is no doubt that the history and tradition of both clubs mixed with the current star studded squads make Real Madrid and Manchester United two of the greatest clubs in the world. However, Madrid’s form in La Liga this season, as a whole, is far short of the exceptionally high standards expected by all connected to the club, not least the fans. Compare this to the relative ease of United’s title charge this season and it seems the safer bet would be on Fergie’s men. However, if you look past the clinical Robin Van Persie and the drive of Wayne Rooney there are deep cracks running through the team; the ever present void of a dominant central midfielder (regardless of Michael Carrick’s good form), the ageing defence which leaks a worrying amount of chances and the continuing questions being asked of David De Gea’s consistency. These cracks will play directly into Madrid’s hands and Mourinho will plan on exploiting these weaknesses as much as possible. Even though Madrid haven’t been consistent, they have played some mesmerising football and any team with the likes of Xabi Alonso, Ozil and Di Maria supplying Benzema and Higuain is bound to create and covert their fair share of chances, especially against a shaky defence.

That is without mentioning the unstoppable force of Cristiano Ronaldo, who will undoubtedly play a defining part in the spectacle. If any club can gauge the brilliance of Ronaldo it is surely Manchester United and Sir Alex will have drawn up a plan to nullify his old friend. The recent games against Tottenham and Everton have given Ronaldo an insight of what he must overcome to shine against his former club. United have overloaded the right hand side of the team with Rafael, Valencia and Jones to stop the likes of Bale, Fellaini and Baines, and they have succeeded. Whether Ferguson will deploy this tactic remains to be seen but if he does, Ronaldo will have to be on top form to have an impact worthy of winning the tie.

The battle does not end on the pitch either; the two managers, friends as they may be, will also be going to war tactically. With both managers keen to add a third and record breaking Champions League crown to their already stellar collection, neither will accept losing as an option. As much as the world of football would like an end to end scoring frenzy, it is highly doubtable that two of the most gifted managers on the globe will share that type of thinking. Both will want to protect their delicate rearguards from the opposing attacking prowess of the opposition. Whether or not they will have much control over this is open to debate though.

However, when both teams step out onto the field; form books will be thrown to one side, weaknesses will be banished from the memory and what will unfold promises to be one of the most memorable European ties of recent years.

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