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UEFA Champions League

  • February 13, 2013
  • • 19:45
  • • Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
  • Referee: F. Brych
  • • Attendance: 79429
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Real Madrid-Manchester United Preview: European heavyweights brace for titanic tussle

Los Blancos resume their quest for a historic 10th European Cup with a mouth-watering last-16 duel against Sir Alex Ferguson's high-fliers at the Santiago Bernabeu

Real Madrid defender Pepe is fit after an ankle injury and is set to make his first start since December in the Champions League showdown against Manchester United on Wednesday.

Xabi Alonso (groin) and Raphael Varane (hamstring) are also available, but captain Iker Casillas is sidelined with a broken thumb.

Sami Khedira, Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil are all likely to return to the starting line-up after being rested during the weekend.

United defenders Phil Jones and Jonny Evans will be assessed after the duo picked up knocks in the 2-0 win over Everton on Sunday.

Midfielder Darren Fletcher (illness) is out, but Ashley Young (knee) and Michael Carrick (hip) have recovered from injuries.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Real Madrid have won five of their last six matches at the Santiago Bernabeu and are unbeaten in their last 33 home matches in all competitions (W27, D6).
  • The Spanish champions have won three of their eight previous meetings with Manchester United in European competition (W3, D3, L2).
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured, right) made 292 appearances for United between 2003 and 2009, scoring 118 goals.
  • Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 14 matches across all competitions, but have won just four of their last nine away games (W4, D3, L2).
  • The three-time European champions have a poor record on Spanish soil, having registered only two wins in 20 previous visits (W2, D8, L10).
  • Sir Alex Ferguson has emerged victorious in just two of his 14 prior encounters with Madrid counterpart Jose Mourinho (W2, D6, L6).

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
13Diego López RodríguezGoalkeeper
2Raphaël VaraneDefender
4Sergio RamosDefender
5Fabio CoentraoDefender
17ArbeloaDefender
6Sami KhediraMidfielder
11Mesut ÖzilMidfielder
14Xabi AlonsoMidfielder
7Ángel Di MaríaMidfielder
7C. RonaldoStriker
9Karim BenzemaStriker
1AdànGoalkeeper
3PepeDefender
2Ricardo CarvalhoDefender
8KakáMidfielder
-Michael EssienMidfielder
19Luka ModricMidfielder
9Gonzalo HiguaínStriker
1David de GeaGoalkeeper
2RafaelDefender
3Patrice EvraDefender
4Phil JonesDefender
5Rio FerdinandDefender
6Jonny EvansDefender
16Michael CarrickMidfielder
10Wayne RooneyStriker
19Danny WelbeckStriker
20Robin van PersieStriker
23Shinji KagawaStriker
13Anders LindegaardGoalkeeper
12Chris SmallingDefender
25Antonio ValenciaMidfielder
8AndersonMidfielder
23Tom CleverleyMidfielder
14Javier 'Chicharito' HernandezStriker
Players to Watch
C. Ronaldo
C. Ronaldo
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 7
Games Goals YC RC
1 1 0 0
The Portugal superstar is set to face Manchester United for the first time since his high-profile departure from Old Trafford in 2009. Ronaldo struck a stunning hat-trick in the 4-1 win over Sevilla and will be a central figure against his former club, who have occasionally shown a vulnerability to pace this season.
Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The England forward is in a rich vein of form, having found the net nine times in his last ten matches for club and country. Rooney's role is tactically important as he does not shy away from defensive duties, while his movement and link-up play with Robin van Persie will be equally pivotal to United's chances of grabbing a positive result.
Prediction
United travel to the Bernabeu in fine form, but their record of two wins in 20 matches in Spain does not make for encouraging reading. Although Real have been inconsistent in La Liga, they generally raise their game for occasions like these and could edge the first leg of this glamour tie.
Editor's Prediction

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