Champions League

Swedes hope to upset mighty Madrid

2015-09-29 10:06
UEFA Champions League (Getty Images)
UEFA Champions League (Getty Images)

Stockholm - When Swedish champions Malmo take on mighty Real Madrid on Wednesday they do so knowing they would probably have to sell their entire squad just to be able to afford a single player from the bench of the Spanish giants.

Valued at around €20 million in total on the Transfer Market website (www.transfermarkt.cm), the modest Malmo squad consists of home-produced players and low-budget signings brought in by sporting director Daniel Andersson.

Malmo do have some pedigree in Europe having reached the 1979 European Cup final where they lost to Nottingham Forest.

Since then, however, the gulf between Europe's big leagues has grown so wide that it is almost impossible for a club of Malmo's limited means to survive beyond the group phase.

Yet, there will be no sense of inferiority on Wednesday as the 18-times Swedish champions welcome Rafa Benitez's side to the 24,000-capacity Swedbank Stadion - even if their ambition is to finish third in Group A and continue in the Europa League.

"No matter who they put in, it will be a world-famous star," captain Markus Rosenberg told reporters of the prospect of meeting the 10-times European champions.

"Nobody is counting on us to take points, but when we play offensively and get the crowd behind us, anything can happen."

Malmo goalkeeper Johan Wiland, who kept Lionel Messi out when he played for FC Copenhagen against Barcelona in the Champions League in 2010, will be doing all he can to stop Ronaldo breaking that record.

Asked by newspaper Kvallsposten if Ronaldo was over-valued compared to his Malmo team mates, Wiland laughed said: "I'm not going to stand here and say that today, if I do they'll smash in four on Wednesday," the 34-year-old said.

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