Tottenham face Real Madrid tonight with a chance of making history but former Spurs midfielder Rohan Ricketts reckons a certain Mr C.Ronaldo will have the last laugh.
Location, Santiago Bernabeu. What a stage for Champions League quarter final first leg.
One of the tournaments favorites, Real Madrid go head to head against, my former club, Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs have surpassed all expectations this season on their Champions League journey but this has come as no surprise to me. I have said from the start, if Spurs believe that they belong on such a stage and they show that in the performances, they can rival anyone on their day. Take their historical performance in the San Siro as a prime example.
Real Madrid have been in good form, excluding their shock home defeat at the weekend, but bearing in mind they are missing several key players, I feel Spurs have every chance of going back to White Hart Lane with it all to play for. If Harry sticks to his attacking philosophy and has the likes of Bale, Lennon and Modric in the side I can see them causing Madrid a few problems and walking away with a at least a draw.
In contrast if he adopts a defensive style, I see the game ending in defeat. The formations will differ, with Mardid opting for a 4-2-3-1 while Spurs will go with a 4-4-1-1. However, Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon as so attack-minded, this could effectively turn it into a 4-2-3-1 as well.
The next battle will be more of wits than anything else. In the engine room - or in this case the art room - we've got Ozil floating around with Lassana Diarra and Khadierra
This will result in some very juicy head to head battles in vital areas. Sergio Ramos vs Gareth Bale for example - Sergio is a classy full back who will fight when needs be but Gareth has shown the world that, when he's in full flow, not even Maicon could stop him. Madrid are still sweating on the fitness of their first-choice left-back Marcelo, if he's fit then I'm sure Aaron Lennon would relish the chance to take him on in such a big game.
The next battle will be more of wits than anything else. In the engine room - or in this case the art room - we've got Ozil floating around with Lassana Diarra and Khedira guarding the back four. Youthful but extremely productive with Ozil pulling the strings so elegantly. Against them you may see the in form Sandro, who has great athleticism and all-round ability, accompanied with the excellent Luka Modric, who I feel is Spurs's best player.
Ahead of them Rafael Van Der Vaart will be hungry to show the Real fans why they should not have let him go so easily. With all these points taken, I think its fair to say that we are going to see a free flowing football match with both teams going for the game. Tottenham will obviously be a touch more cautious as they don't know that a tie can be lost in one game if they are not careful.
Be I give you my prediction, Im going to say this. If Cristiano Ronaldo is playing and he is feeling fresh, all the above may be obsolete as the man will instill a fear into the Spurs backline making it an uneasy evening. As much as we want to see the worlds best on show, for Spurs fans sake, I just hope that Ronaldo is not fit for results sake. This may not sit nicely with my Spurs following but I'm gonna go for a 2 -1 Real Madrid win.
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