Vicente Calderón, Madrid

20 March, 2011; 02:30 am, IST


As far as winners go, they don’t make them better than Jose Mourinho. After winning 3-0 against a Lyon side, whom Real Madrid never defeated in 7 attempts, the calculated arrogance and confidence of the man was fascinating to hear, We are Real Madrid, it is normal for us to qualify for the quarter-finals, what had happened in the last 6 years was something that was not normal“. Love him or loathe him, the man certainly knows how to give sound bites and how to pick winners. In the match against Lyon, there were 4 men who truly stood out and surprisingly, Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t one of them. The biggest revelations of the season have been Ozil, Di Maria, Marcelo and Benzema; and all of them played a major part in undoubtedly the most significant match of the year for Real Madrid. Going into “EL Derbi Madrileno” Real couldn’t have hoped for a better mindset.

On the other side is Atletico Madrid – the side, who have won just one of the last 16 encounters with their arch rivals. Undenialbly, Atletico are a side that is the underdog here.  However, one thing that maybe lost in Real’s triumphs bandwagon is the fact that Atletico are unbeaten in their last 5 matches. Aguero seems to have found his misplaced scoring boots and has scored 4 goals in 5 matches. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Filipe Luis, Reyes and Juanfran have all turned out in Real Madrid’s shirts before and will want to prove a point to their former masters.

All in all, a very tasty encounter is on the cards

Team News and Tactical Brief

Atletico Madrid

Atletico have no major injury worries and their side finally seems to be gelling together rather than falling apart. Forlan seems to sulk around, but still seems to be in fine nick. Reyes is finally a man re-born. Scoring goals, going on mazy runs,

assisting goals and in general being brilliant all around, he will prove to be “Real” handful for Marcelo. Their last line of defense is no joke either. De Gea is arguably one of the most talented keepers in Europe currently and is already attracting a host of suitors, including the likes of Manchester United.

Possible Starting XI (4-4-2): David De Gea, Lopez, Godin, Filipe, Ujfalusi, Garcia, Tiago, Assuncao, Reyes, Forlan, Aguero

Real Madrid

Real Madrid received more bad news – Kaka may need more surgeries. Although, in a way it is unlikely to affect Mou and his merry men at all. Kaka has barely featured this season and while one wishes to see him back to his former self, his time at Real might already be over. From a striker who couldn’t score, Benzema has become a striker who just can’t stop scoring. Marcelo rarely stays in his half and already drawing rave reviews.

A leaky defense will be a dream come true for the ‘cross-eyed‘ German Oezil. Already being compared to the legendary Zidane, he is the cynosure of all eyes at the Bernabeu.

Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Casillas, Marcelo, Carvalho, Pepe, Ramos, Alonso, Granero, Di Maria, Oezil, Ronaldo, Benzema


David De Gea (Atletico Madrid)

Unless there is a miracle, David De Gea is going to be kept very busy. The young custodian will have to at his very best, if Atletico are to gain anything from this match


Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid)

Already winning hearts of the Bernabeu faithful, this is the kind of match where Oezil usually excels. A leaky defense and an average holding midfielder; all the ingredients of an Oezil Masterclass

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION

Atletico Madrid  2-4 Real Madrid

A see-saw goal fiesta seems to be on the cards. Expect plenty of goals and drama with Real coming out on top.