Champions League

Real, Spurs to risk players?

2011-04-04 16:22
Cristiano Ronaldo (File)
Madrid - Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur must decide whether to risk key players battling injuries when they meet on Tuesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.

Only three days after Madrid lost their perfect home record, coach Jose Mourinho said he may play forward Cristiano Ronaldo, whose nagging thigh injury left the Portugal forward out of Saturday's 1-0 loss to Sporting Gijon.

"If Cristiano plays, it is because he and I risk it," Mourinho said.

Striker Karim Benzema is unlikely to return from a leg injury, so Mourinho may also test Marcelo's health after the Brazil fullback missed Saturday's match with an upper body injury.

With Madrid's domestic title hopes fading, they may need Ronaldo in the lineup to focus on winning the European Cup for a record 10th time. Madrid now trail Spanish league leaders Barcelona by eight points.

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has his own injury worries with Gareth Bale recovering from a hamstring injury.

The London club has only two fully fit central defenders in Michael Dawson and Sebastien Bassong, with Ledley King, Jonathan Woodgate and Younes Kaboul out and William Gallas a game-time decision because of a knee injury. Midfielder Steven Pienaar is also out with a groin injury.

Bale is having a breakout season for Tottenham but has made only three brief appearances since the end of January.

"We sincerely believe that we can get past both legs," the Wales international said in an interview in Monday's AS newspaper. "We know how to win. Madrid play on the counter and the forward three have a lot of quality. Mourinho's got them well organised, and Xabi Alonso always knows what the match needs.

"(But) a tie in the first leg would be fine."

Madrid had won all 22 games before its first loss in the Spanish capital since last April. Mourinho's run of nine years without a home loss - which includes the Portuguese coach's spells at FC Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan - was also halted after 150 games.

With Benzema missing, Emmanuel Adebayor is set to start again while Gonzalo Higuain is available off the bench after returning from a back injury.

Redknapp has relied on Peter Crouch, who scored the lone goal to get the Premier League club past AC Milan in the round of 16, in attack for Champions League games, while Netherlands playmaker Rafael van der Vaart is also set to start in his first return to the Bernabeu after being sold by Madrid last year.

Tottenham are also coming off their own domestic stumbles as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Wigan on Saturday.

"Of course it will be a tough game against Real Madrid," Redknapp said. "We will have to play better than we did at Wigan if we are going to get the result we need there. It was one of those days."

Bale has little doubt he will line up against Ronaldo.

"I will ask for Ronaldo's shirt," Bale said. "He's actually a player I have always focused on - he's a reference point. We're similar kinds of players, in terms of physical power and pace. I see him do things and I like to try and repeat them."

Madrid, playing in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2004 after beating Lyon in the previous round, won its only previous encounter with Tottenham in the 1984-85 Uefa Cup quarterfinals.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

LOL treadmill fail!

Watch this hilarious clip! We think this man should rather be running outside this summer!

 
 

I love summer.24

Google’s top searches of 2014
10 of the strangest Christmas traditions around the world
2014's best drone videos
7 drinks you need to make this party season
Fixtures
17 February 2015
Shakhtar Donetsk v FC Bayern München, Donbass Arena 21:45
Paris Saint Germain v Chelsea, Parc des Princes 21:45
18 February 2015
FC Basel v FC Porto, St Jakob-Park 21:45
FC Schalke 04 v Real Madrid, VELTINS-Arena 21:45
24 February 2015
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Juventus v Borussia Dortmund, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which team will win the 2013/14 Champions League title?

 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.