Real Madrid will travel to Manchester for their Champions League semi-final first leg with a full squad, as manager Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that both Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are fit to play.
The two star players were suffering from minor injuries, but have recovered sufficiently to feature in this crunch midweek match against Manchester City on Tuesday.
“Cristiano and Benzema [will] play tomorrow, but we’ve got our last training session today and we’ll have to see,” Zidane was quoted as saying by Real Madrid’s official website.
“They’ve made great recoveries and they’re in perfect shape, today they’re 100 per cent fit. They’re players who look after themselves and my plan is for them to be 100% fit,” continued Zidane. “We come into the game in great form and I’m sure that all together we’re going to do a good job.”
Manchester City to miss Yaya Toure
While Zidane might have all his important players available, his counterpart Manuel Pellegrini will have to do without one of Manchester City’s most influential midfield generals in Yaya Toure.
Toure has been suffering from a muscle injury of late and that is set to keep him out of action for the clash against Real Madrid.
“Yaya is going to be out, I think. He hasn’t recovered from the muscle injury,” confirmed Pellegrini on Manchester City’s official website.
Meanwhile, Samir Nasri will not be considered for the game as the Frenchman was removed from Manchester City’s roster for the Champions League in January due to his long-term hamstring injury.
In Toure’s absence, Brazilian midfielders Fernando and Fernandinho are set to take up the midfield responsibilities. Pellegrini said, “Whenever the Brazilian boys have played together they’ve played some big games – against PSG and against Roma when we knocked them out.”
A revenge script in waiting?
Pellegrini’s one-year stint with Real Madrid ended in tears even though he broke the club record for the highest number of points earned in a league campaign in the 2009/10 season. Real Madrid still finished second to Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona that season in La Liga and particularly after the club’s failure in cup competitions, Pellegrini was sacked.
While the Chilean might be playing down his rivalry against Los Blancos ahead of this game, a Manchester City win over the two legs will definitely be sweet revenge for Pellegrini, whose time at the Santiago Bernabeu ended much earlier than he would have liked.