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Can Madrid make Real Champions League strides?

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Phil Minshull | 12:02 UK time, Monday, 4 April 2011

This might not be the best time to ask, in the wake of their first home defeat of the season, but can Real Madrid finally win the Champions League again and be crowned the kings of Europe for a 10th time?

Of course they can. Logic dictates that any one of the remaining eight teams in this year's competition has a chance to lift the trophy at Wembley on May 28.

However, is it a realistic proposition that it will be Real Madrid who will win a first title since 2002?


Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho during the 1-0 defeat by Sporting Gijon

Mourinho's Real Madrid had won all 14 of their previous home games this season. Picture: Reuters

Was their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Sporting Gijon, which brought coach Jose Mourinho's streak of going over nine years and 150 games since his last home defeat in a league game to an end, just a blip on the radar or a symptom of more deep-rooted malaise that Tottenham can exploit to their benefit on Tuesday night?

My feeling is that it was the former and Real Madrid will make big strides towards the semi-finals by bouncing back thanks to some of Mourinho's psychology lessons.

After the hugely impressive performance in the 3-0 victory over Lyon in the second leg in the last round, the French side's coach Claude Puel commented: "We could not match them. Real Madrid can go on to win the Champions League."

It was a sentiment with which Mourinho concurred and the belief is still there that they can lift Europe's top club prize despite having now effectively thrown in the towel on challenging their bitter rivals Barcelona for this year's domestic title.

"Of course it will be difficult to face teams like Manchester United, Chelsea or Barcelona, but I have no fear of them," said the former Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor on Sunday, still sounding resoundingly optimistic.

"I think with this team and this coach, this club can win the Champions (League)."

If their squad is fit, and that is the big issue rather than its inherent talent, Real certainly have the resources to go all the way this time.

Critics, and I was certainly among them for the first few months of the season when it seemed like there was very little cohesion among the team and Mourinho was just throwing 11 individual talents onto the pitch as he might do if he was coaching a Sunday pub side, will point to the now famous 5-0 defeat by Barcelona in November and Saturday's lapse against Sporting Gijon as reasons why the current Real Madrid side still don't have what it takes.

However, both defeats, and perhaps they will be seen at the end of the season as pivotal points in Mourinho's first year at the club, should be taken in context.

At the Camp Nou, Mourinho was still finding his feet and because of the very special nature of El Clasico and the fact that most of their players had by then got through the 'World Cup hangover' that seemed to affect most of the Spanish squad that triumphed in South Africa, Barcelona played one of their best games of recent seasons, even by their own exalted standards.

It's possibly fair to say that they haven't played that well, or had to play that well, since and a chastened Real bounced back with some outstanding outings in the following few months.

Saturday's defeat was against an exceptionally motivated Sporting Gijon after some bad blood between the two sides earlier in the season.

Several Sporting players also wanted prove a point after having gone public with the fact that they were boyhood Atletico Madrid or Barcelona fans.

There was also David Barral, one of Sporting's best players up front on Saturday, who has always been bitter about the fact that having gone through the Real youth system he was never given a chance to play for the first team and always seems to turn it on against his former club.

Real were also decimated by injuries to key players.

Cristiano Ronaldo and the much-improved Karim Benzema as well as Xabi Alonso and Marcelo, two men who have been among the most consistent and impressive performers for Real this season, were all missing.

In theory, Ronaldo and Marcelo were also due to miss the Spurs game - "Cristiano, Benzema and Marcelo will only be able to play against Athletic
Bilbao," said Mourinho on Friday - but on Monday morning there was the strong suggestions that Mourinho will throw them into the fray against Harry Redknapp's men.

It may be a price worth paying, even if it means that they ultimately miss next weekend's league game at Athletic Bilbao.

Against Lyon, Ronaldo was clearly not fully fit after suffering a hamstring injury two weeks previously but the Real Madrid doctors worked their magic and he managed to play for 70 minutes.

Even if he was not quite the dominating force that he had been earlier in the season, he still had an influence on proceedings and set up the opening goal for Marcelo.

Ronaldo's hamstring only lasted another 70 minutes and he was injured again the following weekend in the derby against Atletico and has not played in the last two weeks.

Gambling on his player's health, and perhaps even sacrificing it, might be seen by Mourinho as a valid tactic as his appointment last summer was always about winning the Champions League, with La Liga taking secondary priority.

Real president Florentino Perez was also in charge of the club in 2002 when they won their last Champions League title, their third in five years and a record ninth in total, but since then their progress in the competition has steadily declined.

They went out in successively earlier rounds for the next three years and didn't get beyond the last 16 for six consecutive years, only reversing that trend in this campaign.

Perez is desperate for those glory days to return, having seen his club eclipsed on the continental stage by Barcelona's more recent triumphs.

The only problem for Perez, Mourinho and their players is that if they get past Spurs then the aforementioned Barcelona (or possibly Shakhtar Donestsk, but it would be an almighty upset if the Ukrainians beat the Spanish champions) will await them in the semi-finals.

Comments on this blog in the space below. Other comments or questions on European football to: europeanfootball@hotmail.co.uk. I do not need your full address but please put the town/city and country where you come from.

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Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    They have absolutely no chance of winning the Champions League. They have a non existant defence and take Ronnie out of the equation and they are an average side. I fully expect Spurs to beat them in both legs.

  • Comment number 2.

    Winning the Champions League? Maybe next year when Mourinho's 11 blend more. I think Real Madrid will be too strong for Spurs, especially if Redknap decided to play the "free flowing" attacking football, you can't be open against Real who sometimes play like Dunga's Brazil. One or two counter attacks and it's over. I'm going for a Classico in the 1/2 Finals, or is it Classicos now? Barça all the way!

  • Comment number 3.

    Isn't the better question...Will JM be in charge next season? As you know conceding the league in Spain is a huge deal especially when Barca are dominating so massively.

    They have several huge games coming up and I wonder if they won't do an Arsenal. Away to Bilbao which is not an easy task, Cup final against Barcelona, home/away to Spurs with a likely depleted squad.

    The worst case scenario for JM in the coming weeks is (assuming everything goes to Champ League plan) that Real could end up losing 4 games on the trot to Barcelona.

  • Comment number 4.

    A team of individuals, seriously lacking any cohesion or continuity. They will not win the Champions League until their philosophy changes. History tells that a "bought" team will not win this trophy.

    Each side since 1993 that has been victorious has had a core of home grown, or domestic talent that has grown with the team:

    From Dortmund in 1997 to Barcelona in 2009 this has always been the case. Madrid have Casillas as a player engrained to the ethos of the club, someone who epitomises it's identity, but nobody else.

    In 2000 they had Sanchis, Hierro, Raul and others.

    Chelsea are similar, as is the Juventus side from 2002-2005. To be the very best, you require the character that these individuals provide.

  • Comment number 5.

    @tomefccam : Totally right, the funniest thing is that their supporters don't seem to understand that Perez sees Real simply as a business circus to milk money out of them.

    Real will probably scrape past Tottenham, only just, given that it's Mourinho we're talking about. Surely he'll find a way to make them perform, but since Benzema and Ronaldo will be absent they might have some trouble upfront. And if Barça do get past Shakhtar Donetsk (with all due respect to Shakhtar), which they probably will, then you'd think Madrid won't get away with being just a collection of talented attacking players.

    I've been wrong before though, plenty of times, so...

  • Comment number 6.

    Mourinho doesn't really care.

    He's just using Real to save up his pennies so that when SAF retires Jose can afford the best central heating system Manchester has to offer.

  • Comment number 7.

    Madrid will probably just squeeze through - but if Lennon and Bale were fully fit I'd say otherwise. Shame for Spurs as they have done fantastically this year, but playing in huge games like this and especially stadiums like the Bernabeu can faze players who haven't done it before. It took Man Utd a few years to get over their mauling at the Nou Camp in 94...

    However, United, Chelsea, Barcelona and probably Inter would all beat Madrid, if they get through, so realistically, no chance for them.

    From what he has said, I don't think Mourinho's heart is really in this job though. If he was managing my team I'd hate for him to say he wants to manage elsewhere.....

  • Comment number 8.

    @6 - except that he's publicly stated that to be the best you have to win the three top leagues so really wants to win 'la liga'. Also, I'm sure he'd love to win the CL with a third team thus cementing his nickname.

  • Comment number 9.

    Charlie is right, will Jose still be at Real next season? It's a very good question. Ignoring the tempers flaring up earlier in the season, if Jose fails to win La Liga (very unlikely now) or the Champion's League, you have to expect he probably won't be. It will be very interesting to see. Ramos, though only a stand in for half a season, was only three points away from guiding Real Madrid to their highest ever second half of season points total (although they lost every game after reaching that amount), he wasn't even considered for the job despite the remarkable turn around Real made under him before their end of season stumble. Pellegrini led Real Madrid to their highest ever, yes, ever points total over a whole season, and was sacked. Marca, essentially Perez's voice in the media, reported that he was to be sacked at the end of the season as early as when Real were knocked out of the CL in the round of 16. This is the kind of man any boss at Real Madrid has to deal with. A record breaking season isn't enough. He doesn't seem to understand why Barcelona are so successful at the moment and how incredibly difficult it is going to be for any team to catch them, throwing money at the team isn't enough. He's a classic example of an owner that does more harm than good by being far too active in the club. Even if Jose isn't sacked, I could see him walking after his second season - If he couldn't cope with Abramovic's interference, I'm amazed that he's lasted this long with Perez.

  • Comment number 10.

    No I dont think they will. Mourinho didn't win the champions league with Inter in his first season and needed to make his own signings. Although Real are good and have one of the best managers, I feel Mourinho needs to bulk up their defence.

    I don't really think Ronaldo has improved much since he left for Madrid, although time will tell.

  • Comment number 11.

    I also think Mourinho probably needs another year to get this squad to jell. Put another way, if he can do it, he's not just special, he's a miracle worker. But Real should be able to get past Spurs.

  • Comment number 12.

    They could but I don't think they will.
    As a Spurs fan I am pretty apprehensive about tomorrow night, though it seems we will have bale & Lennon back together at last. Avoid what happened to Lyon and there is always a chance....
    I think the surprise could come in the Barca/Shaktar game. I have a sneaking suspicion that Shaktar could cause an upset, especially as the 1st leg is at the Camp Nou. Shaktar hammered Roma and I cannot imagine Barca looking forward to a Ukrainian trip without a decent 1st leg lead.
    Now, if that were to happen then I think Real have as much of a chance as anyone.
    I'd love to imagine a Spurs/Shaktar semi but, when reality kicks in, how about a Man Utd/Real Madrid final?
    Ronnie vs Rooney, Old Red Nose vs The Prince In Waiting.......

  • Comment number 13.

    #1 SoSchuMe - you're either the most partizan of Spurs fans, or just a plain and simple idiot; Spurs do not have the quality to beat Real, especially not in the Bernabéu.

    The Madrid defence has improved greatly this season compared with that of previous seasons (with the exception of Capello's Real side). Carvalho has been fantastic alongside Pepe this year (when both fit), and, as Phil states, Marcelo has been awesome this year. Alonso and Khedira add a nice balance to the midfield, something which we haven't really seen in recent years since Makélélé's departure; the forwards have got utter class, especially Özil, who's got everything required to be one of the best midfielders in the world.

    That said, it will take one hell of a performance to beat Barcelona - and I'm not quite sure Real, with perhaps some psychological scars left deeply engrained after that 5-0 tubbing earlier in the season, are the team to provide it.

    Also, #12 - I'd hate nothing more than a Man United vs. Real final; if they were to get to the final, I'd much rather see them annihilated by Barcelona.

  • Comment number 14.

    Charlie: “Isn't the better question...Will JM be in charge next season?” It’s a question I’ve wondered before, as well.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/philminshull/2010/08/can_mourinho_make_a_difference.html

    If, as you suggest, the worst case scenario of four loses to Barca in little more than two weeks does occur then perhaps he might consider his future but the situation now appears relatively stable and Mourinho looks like he will be in charge at the end of the season.

    Mourinho has been making all the right noises about staying for more seasons, until the end of his contract etc.

    Some of the behind-the-scenes discontent seems to have abated, Mourinho and Jorge Valdano now seem to have clearly delineated responsibilities and, after all, who else could Real turn to? Rafa Benitez? (No, I’m only joking about that last suggestion.)

    stillbrighter: “Even if Jose isn't sacked, I could see him walking after his second season - If he couldn't cope with Abramovic's interference, I'm amazed that he's lasted this long with Perez.” That’s a different story altogether. Although Mourinho and Perez have gone back to being the best of pals in public in recent months, who knows what coaching positions might be vacant at the end of next season and which might catch Mourinho’s eye. Manchester United? Russia?

  • Comment number 15.

    Sorry, the phrase that reads 'Mourinho looks like he will be in charge at the end of the season' should be 'Mourinho looks like he will be in charge at the start of next season'.

  • Comment number 16.

    Phil I've seen Real Madrid play and they are a pale shadow of the team from the first galactico era. All Real Madrid players try to do is run faster than their opponents which often works. The problem with their game plan is if they play teams that either sit very deep (parking the bus) or teams that can match them in terms of pace.

    I have a strange feeling that an el classico semi final won't happen as either Madrid or Barcelona will get knocked out. It is likely that if Spurs get a good result in Spain that it is Real Madrid that will get knocked out.

  • Comment number 17.

    Without Mourinho at the helm you would think not but he has the ability to surprise us and his two champions league trophies came with sides who were very much not the favorites. Barcelona and United are the favorites this year because of their respective positions and form. Chelsea may have a chance but no more than Real who have plenty of players capable of pulling out a miracle.
    I think we are well aware that Mourinho isn't happy at this club and wants to return to England. If Ancellotti doesn't win the champions league he may be asked to leave, even if he wins it he may leave as Roma look to have money to spend.
    Will Mourinho be asked back and if he is faced with the option of Chelsea, United and City who would he chose. We have been told in the past that his heart lies in Stamford Bridge, we may see very soon whether this was just hollow rhetoric because Arnesen is leaving and Roman may put him on the spot. It would be dramatic. He knows he has the players he would like to work with and a few more are in the pipeline..........Interesting times.

  • Comment number 18.

    I've not felt it so strongly in my water since seeing Greece qualify for the Euro 2004 Championships....

    ....Chelsea v Madrid final. :-)

  • Comment number 19.

    I think so. No chance for the league now, and they face FCB next in the Coppa so thats not looking too likely. Manager and players know Champs is their biggest opportunity. The manager knows how to set up to win in CL, he has no lack of talent to get there, they are always strong at the Bernanbeau, and Higuain is back. And remember Ronaldo's 40 yd strike against Porto in the CL. FCB is the better team but they will be going for three tropies and that is draining.

  • Comment number 20.

    A team with Murinho manager and Ronaldo as a striker is never an easy team to get past. It is not impossible, though. Real Madrid found Lyon in not mint condition in the last round.

    Will both Bale and Lennon be fully fit?
    Will Gallas be back, on top of his game?
    If yes, Spurs are going to be a serious opponent for Real Madrid. If they can't get past them, I'm expecting them to go out in a much dignified fashion. Spurs have been quality i Europe, this season, making English football proud.

    In any case, I believe the semi finals is what Real Madrid can expect, at best. Personally, I can see the winner of United v Chelsea much able to pick up the trophy if Real Madrid get past Barcelona. Both United and Chelsea have teams that can get through Inter Milan or Shalke 04 and both teams had solid defenses, while they can be very dangerous in attack.

  • Comment number 21.

    Hi Phil, thanks for the reply. Assuming the sitution of 4 clasicos in 10 days going pear-shaped I think you are being very kind to Perez. As @stillbrighter pointed out Real are not the known for thinking long term about managers (mind I dont think this will occur).

    [PS..love the blog]

  • Comment number 22.

    20. At 21:27pm on 4th Apr 2011, Football_UK wrote:

    If yes, Spurs are going to be a serious opponent for Real Madrid. If they can't get past them, I'm expecting them to go out in a much dignified fashion. Spurs have been quality i Europe, this season, making English football proud.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What on earth have Tottenham done that's ''making English football proud'' ?!

    Reached a Champions League Quarter-final ? Pretty much par for the course for a Top 4 EPL side.

    Also, they've only won 1 out of their 5 away matches in the competition, and while they may be exciting and dangerous attackingly, their defence is hardly anything to be proud of.

    All that Tottenham have done this season is effectively taken Liverpool's usual place in the CL, yet no-one batted an eyelid when Liverpool reached quarter-finals year after year with teams that probably costed less than this current Spurs side ( I'm not absolutely certain on that, but this Spurs side hardly came cheaply ).

    I'm not a Liverpool fan, nor am I a detractor of Tottenham, but I really can't understand this Spurs love-in that we have had to endure this season.

    Is it because the London based media have a lot of Spurs supporting editors and journalists who want to 'big-up' their team ?

    Or is it because people became so sick and tired of England providing the same four teams for about 6-7 years, that they have actually fooled themselves into believing that Tottenham are some kind of comparative 'minnow' ?

    I don't think that's the reason, because both Leeds and Newcastle reached CL quarter-finals in the last decade without this adulation.

    The whole thing leaves me perplexed !


    Still, as for the game, I think that Real will probably wrap it up tomorrow night, 3-1 or 4-1, which will leave Spurs to much too do in the second-leg.





  • Comment number 23.

    22. At 21:52pm on 4th Apr 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    20. At 21:27pm on 4th Apr 2011, Football_UK wrote:

    If yes, Spurs are going to be a serious opponent for Real Madrid. If they can't get past them, I'm expecting them to go out in a much dignified fashion. Spurs have been quality i Europe, this season, making English football proud.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What on earth have Tottenham done that's ''making English football proud'' ?!

    Reached a Champions League Quarter-final ? Pretty much par for the course for a Top 4 EPL side.

    ------------------------------------

    Let me enchant you :)

    1. Being new-comers to the Champions League and placed in the same group with holders Inter Milan, they finished the group stages top of their group.
    2. They beat fair and square the Italian champions-elect, AC Milan in their own turf, getting past them on the next stage.
    3. They showed to Europe that it isn't only Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal that can top their groups and reach the latter stages of the Champions League.
    4. They assisted in the points-total that keeps 4 English teams reaching the Champions League stage.

    That's better than what La Liga clubs achieve and better than what any other top championship achieves in any European country. It is a straight indicator of the strength in depth in Premier League.

    Got it? :)

  • Comment number 24.

    Good article. though i personally believe that chelsea will win the champions league this season i must admit that you have a good case .
    Mr Mourinho is a good manager and i adore him. with all respect for the Almighty he is a football god. he can do it . his good tactis will prevail at the end of the day even if the style of play wouldn't be spectacular.
    I am his apostle and he can get it.

  • Comment number 25.

    @ 13: I don't think football results are so predictable that you can call someone an idiot if they think differently. Are RM favourotes, not only in Madrid but on the balance of the 2 games? Yes, of course they are. Does that guarantee they will be in the semi-final? Of course not. How often do inferior teams, on paper, overcome superior ones? Enough to recognise that you shouldn't count out anybody who has achieved the feat of reaching the last 8. That includes SD, who must be even greater underdogs than TH but nevertheless could provide a huge upset.

  • Comment number 26.

    @ 24,

    how old are you ? :)

  • Comment number 27.

    i can see spurs winning the 2 legs and going on to the final where they meet man united......with mark clattenburgh as ref!!

  • Comment number 28.

    As a spurs fan I'm just happy we got out of the group stage. Staying in the competition longer than Arsenal and getting to the quarters is just a bonus. Irrespective of the result both sides are going to be in trouble in the semis unless Barcelona have some sort of meltdown against Shaktar

  • Comment number 29.

    22. At 21:52pm on 4th Apr 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    There always has to be one depressed guy here. Tottenham beat both Milan sides (both of whom I have no doubt you would expect to be in the quarter finals MINIMUM) and have not been shy of showing their attacking football, unlike Arsenal at the Nou Camp.

    You might as well say that Bolton/Stoke in the FA Cup Final is nothing amazing because it's minimum requirement for a Premier League side, or Uruguay reaching the World Cup final is minimum requirement for a South American side.

    Not many supporters outside England know about Tottenham as they do Man Utd and Chelsea, now they're at the same stage in the Champions League, against one of the most famous team in Europe. Lighten up, geez!

  • Comment number 30.

    As a Chelsea fan I have to admit that Barca and Real are streets ahead of the rest and the final will be their semi-final showdown. I also think it extremely naïve to underestimate Real and Jose’s chances in that encounter. A man with a proven record in the competition, a proven record in the CL against Barca and a man with a proven record as triumphing as the underdog.

    My money on a Real v Chelsea final with both coaches desperate to win to salvage their season, their job…

  • Comment number 31.

    I have watched all of Real's games this season and enjoy their progress under Mourinho. Remember he does his best work in the second year when he has bought his own team. He has also had wretched luck this year with injuries and if he wants to beat Barcelona over a full season he needs most of his best players available. I simply cannot see how Spurs can beat RM over two legs. They have no weaknesses and have the best GK in the world as cover for some solid if unspectacular defenders. Marcelo is in fine form and Higuain is a big boost but I am not sure about Kaka (remember him) Once all of these players are fit RM can and probably will go all the way to Wembley. La Liga is gone so they have the luxury of concentrating on CL. It will be fascinating to watch. Great article and nice comments make for a mouth watering run in to final

  • Comment number 32.

    Absolutely they can win the champions league, they are the second best team in the champions league behind barcelona, man utd were lucky to get through their last game against marseille and chelsea had an easy tie against copenhagen. But Madrid are a top quality side and better than both united and chelsea and spurs, if anyone had actually watched them in la liga this season they would see that madrid have been on fire and particularly ronaldo has been sensational. However it is likely that spurs will go through just for the fact that they are not going to qualify for the champions league every year and they have had some fantastic results this year beating both milan clubs and so by having a one off year they could cause an upset, however it will be a monumental task. In particular the game tonight they will be under alot more pressure than the game against ac milan at the san siro. Sandro and lennon in particular are going to be vital, sandro will need another performance like the one he had against milan at white hart lane. Lennon and Bale will need to be efficient outlets when spurs do have the ball and when the ball is played up to crouch it must stick to give spurs a chance to push out.

  • Comment number 33.

    Real Madrid have the quality and the Manager to bring the best out of the players. But winning the CL is not all about that ... Haven failed to make any impact in the CL for the past 8 or so years, there might be a lot of nerves going into big games which mite affect their performance. What there need is a good run this year ( semi-finals will not be bad ) and then they can carry the momentum onto the next one but we all know they have very little patience over there in Madrid.
    Personally I think its Inter Milans to lose .

  • Comment number 34.

    A cup competition is always a little unpredictable but yes with a bit of luck they can win it. Mourinho knocked Barca out last season so he knows it can be done.

    As for next season even if they don't win anything this year they should keep him as there isn't anyone better unless they can get Del Bosque back

  • Comment number 35.

    33 - Personally I think its Inter Milans to lose

    only because they are the holders. I think Schalke can beat them as Raul knows has an excellent record in the competition

  • Comment number 36.

    "Spurs under no pressure" - Redknapp is deluded. A stuttering league campaign means they will not be in the champions league next season if they don't win it.

  • Comment number 37.

    Anything is possible in football. Bale is back and Spurs appear not to be phased. Real and Jose are very hungry for the title and if they do go all the way he will be heralded, quite possibly, as the most brilliant manager of a generation. Having said all this, Spurs have had some very negative performances and too many goalless draws. They should have beaten Wigan on Saturday 0-0 was not good enough. What I do believe is they can score away from home and will lift their game. Nobody expected them to go this far so it's a bonus for them to play at the Bernabeu.

  • Comment number 38.

    They have a chance. I expect them to put Spurs out, who, after doing so well to qualify last year, could be on the way out of the CL for several years to come.

    They'll probably meet Barca in the semi and come undone, however. I think next year would be more realistic for Madrid.

  • Comment number 39.

    What on earth have Tottenham done that's ''making English football proud'' ?!

    =

    This is a mystery to me as well. They have only achieved what is a bare minimum for every other English side in the champions league.
    season.

    And Gareth Bale hype isn't even based on performances anymore

  • Comment number 40.

    LondonsFinestClub: “I think we are well aware that Mourinho isn't happy at this club and wants to return to England.” I think things didn’t start off well and there was some resistance to his demands for a great say in the running of the club but all the indications are that these disputes have now been settled, and generally in his favour.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-04/real-madrid-cedes-power-to-top-earner-mourinho-as-fans-fret-about-tenure.html
    Scobiedog-SOSOS: “I can see spurs winning the 2 legs and going on to the final where they meet man united......with mark clattenburgh as ref!! Actually, if two English clubs make it to the final, it’s highly unlikely to be an English referee. This would be a big change in UEFA policy. When Manchester United met Chelsea in 2008, it was Lubos Michel from Slovakia in charge while Milan v Juventus in 2003 saw Germany’s Markus Merk as the man in the middle. If it was two English clubs in the final on May 28, it’s almost certain that one of the few people who wasn’t English in Wembley would be the referee! Hopefully, at least whoever it is would have a good command of English (top international referees usually do these days, but not always), but perhaps this is something UEFA need to rethink.

  • Comment number 41.

    39 - as a team that is outside the hsitorical top 4 of recent years they are showing that there is strength in depth in the English league unlike La Liga where once you get past 6th there is a massive drop off in terms of standard of teams.

    To analyse the top 4 further pleasee read

    http://adampsb.blogspot.com/2011/04/something-special.html

  • Comment number 42.

    I feel this is all irrelevant. At some point you need to face barca and if they play at even 85% then even a world XI has no chance. I hope spurs get through though, mourinho is an enemy of everything thats not his.

  • Comment number 43.

    I would have thought Europa cup finals would have been sufficient evidence that there is strength in depth in the English league.

    Spurs have got no further than the likes of Roma - a champions league 1/4 final exit is failure in most clubs eyes, and it will feel like it when Spurs are watching the CL on tele next season

  • Comment number 44.


    1. At 14:09pm on 4th Apr 2011, SoSchuMe wrote:

    "They have a non existant defence"

    Yeah mate. They have Ramos WC & Euro winner Arbeloa full Spain international Carvalho who was like top 3 CD in the world -before leaving the PL of course then he becomes a nobody- and Pepe full Portugal international and Euro 08 best defender. In addition to the best CDM in the world and one of the top 5 keepers in the world. And Tottenham have DAWSON GALLAS CORLUKA & ASSOU-EKOTTO. This is their "existAnt" defence which has also conceded 14 in 12 in Europe including THREE at the European 'nobodies' Young Boys weakest in the pot by far, also FOUR in the friendly vs Villareal at home and 34 in 30 in the PL including THREES/FOURS vs the might of Bolton Blackpool and Wolves. And BURNLEY last May.



    23. At 22:06pm on 4th Apr 2011, Football_UK wrote:

    "It is a straight indicator of the strength in depth in Premier League."

    More of a STRAIGHT INDICATOR mate is how City and Liverpool who are considered allright in the PL fared against the European powerhouses of Kiev and Braga when fielding their best available teams. More of an indicator is that teams like Liverpool go away to places like Prague and can't manage ONE shot on target.

    It always used to be that English clubs below the top 4 were poor, but now the top 4 are pretty awful as well.

    The fact that there won't be an all-Spanish final this year is an absolute travesty.



  • Comment number 45.

    #13 said: "SoSchuMe - you're either the most partizan of Spurs fans, or just a plain and simple idiot; Spurs do not have the quality to beat Real, especially not in the Bernabéu."

    Football is a funny old game mate. If you think you can predict the outcome of football matches based on the 'quality' of the teams then you Sir are the bigger fool.

    Anything could happen. Ronaldo could get sent off after 90 seconds. Dawson could concede 3 penalties in 5 minutes. Gomes could get 6 clean sheets in a row. The referee could give a goal to Spurs when the ball didn't even cross the line...

    If favourites always won races, no-one would bet on horses. Get a grip and let a Spurs fan enjoy his moment. I know I will be.

  • Comment number 46.

    Just read Redknapp's comments today about his side being under "no pressure" in the game against Real - who is he kidding!? Given City's meteoric rise this season it is clear that Spurs will not qualify for the CL next season unless they WIN it this year, if that's not pressure I don't know what is!
    Good luck to Spurs but I feel that Real will just have a little too much quality for them, with or without Ronaldo's participation.

  • Comment number 47.

    This is a mystery to me as well. They have only achieved what is a bare minimum for every other English side in the champions league.
    season.
    -------------------------------------------
    Like Arsenal this year and Liverpool last year (when no English clubs got past the quarter finals, including your beloved United) you mean?

  • Comment number 48.

    Like Arsenal this year and Liverpool last year (when no English clubs got past the quarter finals, including your beloved United) you mean?

    ==

    Yes, and I don't remember too many congratulatory comments when that happened...

  • Comment number 49.

    Had you beaten the current Champions and knocked the leaders of Serie A on your way to that? How did United get on first time round, I'm assuming semi's at least as the quarter finals is the minimum required?

  • Comment number 50.

    Because of the draw, we know that at least one English side will make the semis - I would prefer that it be Chelsea but more likely United as I would like to see a London club at Wembley but that is a pipe dream The draw for the semis could go against any remaining club; all depends upon who Barca get, as they are clearly favorites to win again. If THFC do beat Real then the trophy is anybody's.

  • Comment number 51.

    Madrid will beat Tottenham, especially if Higuain is back sooner than expected. But I just can't see them getting past Barca over two legs. So the answer is probably no. A Chelsea v Barca final, in which Michael Essien's fitness will be crucial, imo. Had Torres been firing, I'd have fancied Chelsea, but he can't seem to rouse himself, so (predictably) - Barcelona to win it again.

  • Comment number 52.

    Had you beaten the current Champions and knocked the leaders of Serie A on your way to that? How did United get on first time round, I'm assuming semi's at least as the quarter finals is the minimum required?


    ==

    Well United beat Inter the season before, and last season knocked Milan out 7-2 on aggregate, compared to the scrape through 1-0 spurs managed. Last season was the first time since 2006 that United hadn't made a semi final.

    "it's our first time", aw brave little Spurs, against all the odds. It's also going to be your last time, judging by the average league campaign

  • Comment number 53.

    "However, is it a realistic proposition that it will be Real Madrid who will win a first title since 2002?"

    It's not just a realistic proposition, it's the only possibility - after all, Real Madrid are the only team who can win their first title since 2002, as they are the only side to have won the title in 2002. Whether they win it this year is another matter entirely.

  • Comment number 54.

    48. At 11:21am on 5th Apr 2011, Kapnag wrote:
    Like Arsenal this year and Liverpool last year (when no English clubs got past the quarter finals, including your beloved United) you mean?

    ==

    Yes, and I don't remember too many congratulatory comments when that happened...

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    But it's all about context. People don't congratulate Arsenal and Liverpool for getting to the Champions League quarter finals because they're experienced in the competition and have done it loads of times before. Remember it took Man Utd a few seasons before they got to the quarter finals, Arsenal got knocked out in the group stage the first time they were there and struggled to make it to the quarter finals a few times. Spurs have done well because at the first time of asking with only 3 players in their squad with any Champions League experience they've beaten Inter, AC Milan and are now playing Real Madrid. Spurs deserve praise and have every right to be enjoying it.

  • Comment number 55.

    But it's all about context. People don't congratulate Arsenal and Liverpool for getting to the Champions League quarter finals because they're experienced in the competition and have done it loads of times before. Remember it took Man Utd a few seasons before they got to the quarter finals

    ==

    Yeah it did take a few years, but that was 18 years ago! The premiership was a lot less competitive in Europe back then.

    Spurs qualified in fourth, so that means they should be expected to get to the 1/4 finals, to maintain the standards set by other fourth placed teams.

    Spurs have had an average season, and only a giddy cup run is covering that up, which goes back to the point I made that I don't get this love in with Spurs and how wonderful an achievement it is getting this far.

  • Comment number 56.

    Final will be between Inter and Barcelona with Barcelona winning again.

    YNWA

  • Comment number 57.

    I think it's immature to suggest any team at this stage of the CL doesn't stand a chance against anyone. I think Real Madrid could go the distance, but i also think they will hugely rely on some shocks elswhere.
    Seemingly Barca will beat a very impressive Shaktar side and be the next quest for Madrid. I don't think any of the games are a sure thing though. Barca (although the closest thing to immortal) are only human, and a shaky start due to the weight of expectation could uncharactoristically as it is see them out.
    I think the Madrid, Spurs draw is much closer and will largely depend on tactics.

    As i Spurs fan i was delighted when i saw the draw against Real. Debut season in the CL and we've have played two top italian teams and a Spanish Giant. Can't be happier. Lets see which Spurs side turn up before they get written off.

  • Comment number 58.

    Yeah it did take a few years, but that was 18 years ago! The premiership was a lot less competitive in Europe back then.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    The Champions League was also a lot less competitive. Your main whinge seems to be Spurs aren't as good as United but the press don't pick this up, which seems odd frankly. 'Spurs have had an average season', not for them, which is the point that you can't seem to grasp, or that in fact Spurs and Man United aren't in fact the same team and so success is judged differently. As for this 'maintaining the standards' thing, we've progressed further than last year's fourth place and this year's third place, so we're actually exceeding the standards set by the benchmark you've set.

  • Comment number 59.

    And Kapnag, be more up united's rear.

    It's fine to acknowledge other clubs achievements. Rather than trying to emulate Ferguson's blind hatred of everthing that isn't Red and from Manc.

  • Comment number 60.

    No.4 - "A team of individuals, seriously lacking any cohesion or continuity. They will not win the Champions League until their philosophy changes. History tells that a "bought" team will not win this trophy."

    Seriously? i believe Inter last year had 0 'homegrown' players in the side, while Man Utd and Liverpool in 2008 and 2005 had 2 each. All of the teams left in this year's competition are essentially 'bought' - the exception being Barcelona who nonetheless have invested huge sums in their playing staff.

  • Comment number 61.

    Obviously success is different for different clubs. Spurs being successful is what the other top English teams would call a bad season. That doesn't mean Spurs can't be congratulated though.

    BUT, spurs fans who constantly belittle other top teams (e.g. Arsenal, Utd, etc) and laugh at there failings do not deserve to be congratulated.

    Yes Spurs have done well in the CL (much better than expected) but let's not go over the top - they haven't actualy won anything and have dropped from the top 4.

  • Comment number 62.

    The Champions League was also a lot less competitive. Your main whinge seems to be Spurs aren't as good as United but the press don't pick this up, which seems odd frankly

    ==


    Err no, my main grip is the giddyness surrounding an average Spurs side. They have achieved nothing this season, only the bare minimum, and look like they won't be in the CL next season to build on it. That's a fact.

    As for "the champions league was easier back then", my god you're clutching at straws! Barcelona with Hagi, Stoichkov and Romario, the great AC Milan, Ajax with their young starts that would eventully all become multiple CL winners.

    Spurs are no paupers, they have spent millions to get here, and are subject to criticism like the rest. I haven't asked that people praise other efforts more, simply apply the same balance to Spurs who have been so hilariously overhyped this season despite a poorly 19 home league goals in a desperately dissapointing season.

    Then when you have redknapp saying "we're not under pressure" you have to ask "why not?"

  • Comment number 63.

    What i'm trying to say is - don't have double standards.

    If you're one of those fans that laughs at Arsenal for not winning a trophy for the last 5 seasons then don't expect others to think you've done really well by performing to a lower standard.

  • Comment number 64.

    Spurs being here doesn't show "the strength in depth of the EPL" it just shows that Spurs are finally justifying the astronomical sums of money they have spent over the past few years.

    "unlike La Liga where once you get past 6th there is a massive drop off in terms of standard of teams." This is an absolutely absurd statement, let's look at 7th to 10th in the EPL, Everton, Bolton, Newcastle and Fulham, are they really that good? Atletico Madrid are 8th in La Liga, are you really suggesting any of those 4 PL teams are better? Better than a team with Forlan and Aguero up front?

    The only thing that makes the Premier League seem better is the amount of money that the teams spend. People need to start actually watching other leagues before passing judgment on them, I only hope that the financial fair play system comes in sooner rather than later so we can see which leagues are really the strongest.

  • Comment number 65.

    Can they win it? Yes, Will Spurs win it? No! Will Madrid win it? No. They will win Next season. United or Barca this season..

  • Comment number 66.

    I still don't get how people think Spurs have had a poor or mediocre season, If I had been offered 5th in the league and quarter finals of the Champions League at the beginning (or when 2-0 down to Young Boys) I'd have happily taken it. But now all of a sudden because English sides have got their before it's not an acheivement that Spurs are there? German sides have got this far regularly as well, it is still very much an acheivement that Shalke are there.

    Why because we had a great season last year are we suddenly being assessed how you'd assess Man U? How is not following up our first venture into the Champions League with either winning it or qualifying for it again somehow failure?

    Every knew last year that that was our best chance to get into it & we did and it was great. We all knew it would be much harder this season with City on the rise & so it has proved but we're not out of that battle yet.

    And I think City would be pretty pleased with making it to the quarters first time (if they do qualify and make it that far) of asking bareing in mind they (like us & unlike the other English sides) won't be top seeded & so would have a difficult group to negotiate. Where as Utd & Chelsea had the luxury of fielding weaker teams early on & you only need to look at Arsenal to see the perils of balsing your group up. Personally I don't think they'll get that far!

    Anyway back to the original question... Madrid are obviously favourites for the tie & I reckon Barca will beat Inter in the final... everyone's placing to much emphasisi on Mourinho all those Inter players that won it last year beating Chelsea & Barca are still there and they didn't become poo overnight!!

  • Comment number 67.

    I still don't get how people think Spurs have had a poor or mediocre season, If I had been offered 5th in the league and quarter finals of the Champions League at the beginning (or when 2-0 down to Young Boys) I'd have happily taken it.

    ==

    Because they have been average at home by scoring so few goals (19 which is just 2 more than the lowest total in the entire division!), so many 0-0's in games where a serious side would have won and put pressure on others. I have grown a little tired of all these undeserved plaudits when they still have so much to do to make this a successful season, a season littered with disappointing results.

    They were 4 down at half time, but because of a hat trick by Bale this became one of the greatest defeats in English football. They're only in fifth because the rest of the league has been even more inconsistent (liverpool being sixth tells you everything you need to know about the prestige of fifth - it will let you qualify for the same competition the league cup winners have)

  • Comment number 68.

    Thanks Kapnag. That's about as big a word of praise as I think we could look for & shows how far we've come in the last few years that people are still wanting more from us & pushing us to the next level, cheers mate!!

  • Comment number 69.

    Actually Shaktar have a really good shout this year

  • Comment number 70.

    you should hope for criticism, cos back slapping and "oh aren't they doing so well" plaudits will get you only so far. look at Arsenal. Look how many moral victories they get awarded cos they play pretty football. Doesn't make trophy-less seasons any easier for them to stomach.

    So I don't get why Redknapp says there's no pressure. It's a champions league 1/4 final - it is going to be immense pressure and the players have to stand up to that pressure. So far, they've failed on almost every occasion this season (in the league anyway, and even then they should have made life easier in the home leg against Milan)

  • Comment number 71.

    @31 No weakness ? How then they lost 5-0 to Barcelona ? ... For me this Madrid is no better than the one we had last year. After Barcelona, have been pretty much unbeaten all year round, I still can't understand why we are even having this discution about who is going to win the champions league ...

  • Comment number 72.

    @66 - i think it's more due to the fact Spurs fans have been comparing themselves to Chelsea, Utd and Arsenal. Lots of fans have been thinkign due to gettign into the CL they are now at the same level as these teams.

    The same spurs fans who laugh at Arsenal (who are having a better season than spurs) sing about there achievment of getting to the QF of the CL - a feat consistently achieved by the other top english teams.

    It's not that people don't think spurs have done well to have come as far as they have in the competition. It's that it is made out that Spurs are now one of the big boys due to a decent cup run in one competition despite being unspectacular in all the other competitions.

    Well done to tottenham for getting to the QF - no-one expected you to do so well.

    But it is nothing special.

  • Comment number 73.

    A few of you need to lay off the EPL Kool-aid, its downright absurd to claim they don't have a chance to win it , what planet are you living on. If it's all about defense, then go put a tenner on Stoke City.

  • Comment number 74.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Real Madrid are the stronger than Tottenham. They will prove it in two legs and Tottenham will finally show their inexperience in a competition that is not won without some experience. Also Real is not just Ronaldo, they have Di Maria, Ozil, and no Higuain that is fit to play. These are players that can all change a game at any time or second.

  • Comment number 75.

    23. At 22:06pm on 4th Apr 2011, Football_UK wrote:

    1. Being new-comers to the Champions League and placed in the same group with holders Inter Milan, they finished the group stages top of their group.
    2. They beat fair and square the Italian champions-elect, AC Milan in their own turf, getting past them on the next stage.
    3. They showed to Europe that it isn't only Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal that can top their groups and reach the latter stages of the Champions League.
    4. They assisted in the points-total that keeps 4 English teams reaching the Champions League stage.

    That's better than what La Liga clubs achieve and better than what any other top championship achieves in any European country. It is a straight indicator of the strength in depth in Premier League.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    1. The same Inter Milan side who also, around the same time, lost to Werder Bremen, Chievo, and drew against Lecce and Bologna.

    Hardly a 'vintage' Inter side, who were a shadow of the team that over-achieived under Mourinho's management.

    2. As have Ajax ( third in the Eredivisie ). Liverpool have hardly had a great season, but still comfortably beat 2nd-placed Napoli in the Europa League. Roma lost at home to Basel, before getting smashed by Shakhtar. Juventus couldn't beat Lech Poznan and Red Bull Salzburg either home or away !

    I think we're seeing a bit of a pattern here, and that pattern suggests that this isn't exactly the finest era of Italian football. ;)

    3. But Europe knows that Liverpool can top CL groups, reach quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals, and even win the whole competition. Why would people in Europe be surprised that the team who took Liverpool's place performs similarly, expecially if they are aware of how much money Spurs spent to reach the Top 4 ?

    4. Which, like I've been saying, is par for the course for English sides.


    As for your last point, I'm afraid you are just reinforcing my own view that Tottenham's ''achievements'' in Europe this year are nothing out of the ordinary.

    The EPL has a Top 4 that consistently challenge at the latter end of the CL, whereas La Liga has a ''Big 2'' that does the same, while the other major countries only tend to have 1 realistic challenger, and most countries have no serious contenders for the CL title.

    Unfortunately that's just the way it is. Tottenham finishing in the Top 4 doesn't say anything about strength in depth; all it says is that if you spend £££, then you may displace one of the recent traditional ''Big 4'', as Manchester City will inevitably do.

    If, for example, Athletic Bilbao were to finish in the top 2 next season in La Liga, then would it be a surprise if they reached the CL quarter-finals the following season ?
    I would hardly think so, considering that they would have already demonstrated that they were better than either Barcelona/Real Madrid the season before.

    As for your comment about ''strength in depth'' in the EPL, well that just sounds like a really bad joke in a season when:

    Dynamo Kiev > Manchester City
    Sporting Braga > Liverpool
    Rapid Vienna > Aston Villa

    :)

  • Comment number 76.

    As for "the champions league was easier back then", my god you're clutching at straws! Barcelona with Hagi, Stoichkov and Romario, the great AC Milan, Ajax with their young starts that would eventully all become multiple CL winners.
    --------------------------------------------------------

    Not really, a competition with Barcelona and Real Madrid, both Milan teams, United Chelsea and Arsenal is much stronger than a competition than one from each country. By the way it was Gala you went out to in the second round, not one of those great sides, so it's you who's clutching the straws. Interesting you bang on about our lack of goals but fail to mention we were top scorers in the group stages. As United have only managed to win 5 away games in the league this season I'm assuming they're having a bad season despite being top? After all winning 5 away games is the very least a top half Premiership team is expected to do.

  • Comment number 77.

    I'm amazed at how badly Serie A is being portrayed on this blog, you should get jobs working for Sky with that level of knowledge.

  • Comment number 78.

    29. At 04:25am on 5th Apr 2011, TheLegendOfDaXi wrote:

    There always has to be one depressed guy here. Tottenham beat both Milan sides (both of whom I have no doubt you would expect to be in the quarter finals MINIMUM) and have not been shy of showing their attacking football, unlike Arsenal at the Nou Camp.

    You might as well say that Bolton/Stoke in the FA Cup Final is nothing amazing because it's minimum requirement for a Premier League side, or Uruguay reaching the World Cup final is minimum requirement for a South American side.

    Not many supporters outside England know about Tottenham as they do Man Utd and Chelsea, now they're at the same stage in the Champions League, against one of the most famous team in Europe. Lighten up, geez!

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ha ! Ha ! I'm not depressed, and I hope I'm not depressing. :(

    I am just pointing out that a team that an expensively assembled team from the top league in Europe reaching the last 8 of a competition that has been dominated in recent seasons by the top 4 in the EPL, is hardly particularly surprising, despite what the media and assorted bandwagon-hoppers may lead you to believe !

    I certainly didn't expect Inter to get to the last 8 after seeing them in the early part of the season, and I haven't/hadn't seen enough of this AC Milan team to know whether they should or should not have reached the last 8. If their performances against Spurs are indicative of their overall quality, then I'd suggest that it was not a surprise that they didn't make it this far. ;)

    Your Bolton/Stoke and Uruguay analogies are completely off-base, as you are comparing apples with oranges.

    The FA Cup draw is unseeded, so it is not that surprising to find teams with a kind draw reaching the semis and final ( such as Millwall in 2004 ).

    Uruguay finished fifth in South American qualifying, and if you can show me an example of the fifth best South American side reaching a WC semi-final, then your point may have some merit.

    The fact of the matter is that over the course of 38 games last season, Tottenham proved that they were the 4th best team in England. Considering the fact that there have been several demonstrable examples of the 4th placed EPL team finishing in the last 8 of the Champions League in recent seasons, then I do not understand the nonsense surrounding it happening again this season !

    :)

    Year 4th-placed team CL performance the following season
    2001-02 Newcastle 2nd group stage
    2002-03 Chelsea SF
    2003-04 Liverpool W
    2004-05 Everton Preliminary round
    Liverpool ( 5th ) Last 16
    2005-06 Arsenal Last 16
    2006-07 Arsenal QF
    2007-08 Liverpool QF
    2008-09 Arsenal QF
    2009-10 Tottenham QF...?

    Since four teams have represented England in the CL, the only fourth placed team that has failed to reach the knockout stage has been Everton ( although the 5th placed team managed to do so ).

    Tottenham have become the fourth succesive 4th-placed team to reach the QF of the CL.

    You'll also notice that Liverpool and Arsenal both reached the CL final in a season that they finished 4th or 5th in the league.

    Is that light-hearted enough for you ? :)

  • Comment number 79.

    As for your comment about ''strength in depth'' in the EPL, well that just sounds like a really bad joke in a season when:

    Dynamo Kiev > Manchester City
    Sporting Braga > Liverpool
    Rapid Vienna > Aston Villa
    ---------------

    Largely because nobody cars about the Mickey Mouse Europa cup. Did Liverpool ever field a full strength team?


    Anyway, Tottenham should be congratulated yes but all this overboard nonsense is simply Fulham v2. Any EPL qualifyer should be expected to reach at least the last 16 and probably the last 8 depending on the draw. If it were Liverpool or City then the story wouldn't be so bid despite them not having spent more really than Spurs have.

  • Comment number 80.

    Oh dear, There is no wqay Jose is going to United. Thats dreaming on UNited fans parts. No money ageing squad lots of mediocre players, did I say no money?

    City has Jose's name all over it, Money to burn good squad already on the up, did I say lots of cash, this is just up Jose's street. Not cash strapped in need of a refit United.

    If real turn up Dawson n co wont live with the Real attack, free flowing, what liek the free flowing against milan at WHL, oh dear

  • Comment number 81.

    77. At 15:56pm on 5th Apr 2011, senorg wrote:
    I'm amazed at how badly Serie A is being portrayed on this blog, you should get jobs working for Sky with that level of knowledge.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Is it any wonder that people are questioning the standard of Serie A ?

    AC Milan, top of the table, have played 8 European games this season, which yielded only 2 victories, both against a relegation-threatened French side.
    They have also lost at home to Ajax and Tottenham.

    Napoli, 2nd in Serie A, have won 3 out of 10 European Games, two against Swedish side Elfsborg, and one against Steaua Bucharest.
    They drew home and away against FC Utrecht ( 8th in the Eredivisie ) and also lost to Roy Hodgson's Liverpool !

    Inter, 3rd in the league, have won 3 out of 8, but have also lost to Bayern Munich, Werder Bremen and Tottenham.

    And while the other Italian teams who were in this season's European competitions aren't exactly setting Serie A alight, many of their European results don't make for pretty reading:

    Roma, lost to Basle, demolished by Shakhtar.

    Juventus, drew all 6 games in a group which contained Lech Poznan and Red Bull Salzburg.

    Palermo couldn't finish in the top 2 of a four-team group which contained Sparta Prague and a Swiss second-division side.

    Sampdoria, beaten by Metalist Kharkiv and Debrecen.


    These are not very good times for Italian football, both domestically and internationally.



  • Comment number 82.

    mourinho is neither liked nor loved by the bernabeu, nor the all powerful madrid sporting press, & tonight you can expect to see a very nervous crowd turn on the team if things dont go well in the first 20 minutes or so. madrid are very open to leaking set piece goals, & a certain van der vaart will be looking to remind mourinho of what he doesnt have, a creative attacking midfielder. spurs to score a vital away goal & probably not lose. ( a barça eyes wide open fan!)

  • Comment number 83.

    Not really, a competition with Barcelona and Real Madrid, both Milan teams, United Chelsea and Arsenal is much stronger than a competition than one from each country. By the way it was Gala you went out to in the second round, not one of those great sides, so it's you who's clutching the straws. Interesting you bang on about our lack of goals but fail to mention we were top scorers in the group stages. As United have only managed to win 5 away games in the league this season I'm assuming they're having a bad season despite being top? After all winning 5 away games is the very least a top half Premiership team is expected to do.

    ============

    Yeah, today's Spurs side would have walked the champions league back then! Where were spurs anyway, when United were getting thrashed by the likes of Barca and Juve? I've already said the premiership wasn't up to the european standard back then (which explains why we were knocked out in turkey), hence your strange comeback about european football being generally weaker as well (despite there being several big guns in the competition, full of the best players of that era)

    Top scorers in the group stages, fair play, although they count for nothing once you've qualified. Whereas in the league, it's quite a damning statistic that for an entire season you've scored so few at home. I don't think Redknapp will ignore this in the summer, as it is clearly going to cost Spurs their place in the top 4. Whether he can do anything about it is another matter.

    As for away records, United have as many points as Spurs on the road, but have shown everyone what needs to be done at home. Spurs home record in comparison is embarrassing to be honest, for a champions league club. United should have had a better away record than they have now, but they've more than made up for it at home, comfortably out performing the rest of the league.

  • Comment number 84.

    Such a bunch of empty heads ... this blog is about Real, who would only play United assuming that both Real and United make the final - not highly likely.

    Despite this the empty heads are turning it into a chance to have a go at United.

    The only thing this shows (besides the empty space between their ears) is that they find United a far more interesting club to follow and talk about than whatever little club they "officially" support.

    Thanks for the laugh, guys.

  • Comment number 85.

    Ronaldo or ronaldo,no marcelo. I believe Real madrid can b champions again if they really concentrate nd aim to get there. Nothing will stop madrid if they play 2gether as a team. I wish madrid to be real masters.

  • Comment number 86.

    Real Madrid do have a good chance to win the champions league this season. Tottenham will give Real Madrid a good match in both legs but I expect Real Madrid will win over the two legs with their experience.

  • Comment number 87.

    Phill and all others who think Real will win CL this year have another thing coming. No chance in hell they will win it. Not with a Barca side that is just THAT good this season.

    19. At 21:19pm on 4th Apr 2011, diggsgiggs wrote:
    FCB is the better team but they will be going for three tropies and that is draining.

    ----------------
    Und? They won 6 trophys last year, happy and fresh.

  • Comment number 88.

    And the Spurs fans laughed when I said Di Maria was as good as Bale HAHAHAHA!

  • Comment number 89.

    In all honesty, I don't know what all tottenham fans were thinking going to Madrid and hoping to get a good result. Even Johan Cruyff, one of the biggest anti-Real people out there, had already predicted a pretty easy quarterfinal set for us... 4-0!

  • Comment number 90.

    So where have all the savants gone, after banging on and on about how rubbish Real are , predicting Spurs would win both matches, blah blah blah

    This board was a right mental asylum a few hours ago, suddenly it's all gone quiet

  • Comment number 91.

    NEXT!

  • Comment number 92.

    Finally, reality is restored. Real v Man U/Chelsea will be a cracking final.

    No need to worry though Harry, there's always the Europa League next season!

  • Comment number 93.

    Tottenham Hotspur: making English football proud. ;)

  • Comment number 94.

    Or should I rephrase it as: Tottenham Hotspur, spending £100m+ to get this far, only to resemble a rabbit caught in the headlights when they are put up against half-decent opposition.

    Harf ! Harf !

  • Comment number 95.

    I think it is a great possibility that Real Madrid will win the Champions League but the last time they were against Barcelona, they suffered a 5 - 0 defeat at the Camp Nou.

  • Comment number 96.

    Real Madrid have a strong chance of winning, but their next opponents are most probably going to be Barcelona and the last time the faced Real suffered a 5 - 0 defeat. I think its Real Madrid or Barcelona to win the Champions League.

 

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