The reigning European champions Real Madrid host Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabéu, in the first leg of the champions league semi-finals.
The blue side of Manchester are dubbed as the bookies favourites to go through, as they have won 10 games in a row in all competitions, and have recently pipped Arsenal to top of the premier league.
They are in a state of flow as of present, recently beating Leeds United and West Ham scoring five goals in both games combined.
Real Madrid have just come off the back of winning the Copa Del Ray against Osasuna 2-1, with Rodrygo chipping in with goals when it truly matters. Manchester City fans will have nightmares over Rodrygo’s last minute brace in the dying embers against them last year during the Champions league semi-final.
Bernardo Silva stated that he wanted to take revenge against Real Madrid, which is after the heartbreak they suffered last time which gives Los Blancos a psychological advantage in the tie.
Vinicius JR has been electric for Real Madrid, showing his consistency across all competitions, and scoring 22 goals and assisting 21 times. The current Ballon d’Or holder Karim Benzema coming in and out of the team with injury issues – Vinicius Jr has had to step up as Madrid’s star man.
Erling Haaland has the opportunity to be the difference for Manchester city – in the Champions League last year they lacked a clear number nine and target man that would have been effective for crosses into the box.
Although he does not get involved in games as Real Madrid starlet Vinicius Jr has the most goals in Europe, and 51 goals in 46 games. He also just broke the Premier League goal record, scoring against West Ham United, and beating Alan Shearer’s long standing records.
The battle on the touchline might be the most interesting fight throughout both legs of the competition with the contrasting styles.
Pep Guardiola is arguably the greatest tactician the game has ever seen, with how his style has evolved and developed over the years with the introduction of inverted fullbacks, and the use of the false nine.
Carlo Ancelotti is a throwback manager, with a focus on pragmatism while playing quick, and aggressive counter attacking football which has died out in a style of play for top European teams since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
There isn’t a strict style of play with Ancelotti’s side, which may be a reason that throughout his 30 year career he has won five league titles, four champions league titles, and success has followed him at nearly every club he has been at because of his management skills and the aura possesses in the dressing room.
By Ryan Millington