Real Madrid start off their Champions League campaign at against Sporting Lisbon at the Santiago Bernabeu tonight. Zinedine Zidane’s men have begun the season in fine fashion remaining unbeaten so far and the team will look to carry on with the same momentum in Europe’s elite competition as well. Real Madrid will be trying to accomplish the feat no team has been able to since AC Milan when they won back to back Champions League titles.
The Los Blancos are not expected to be troubled too much by their opponents who have lost five of their last eight games in the competition and has conceded 24 goals in those matches. While Real Madrid has been excellent in their Champions League Campaigns winning the trophy twice in the last three seasons, their opponents could reach the knockout stages only once in their last six campaigns. The last time the two teams faced each other it was in 2000/01, when Real won by a margin of 6-2 over the two legs.
Real Madrid’s superstar and the current best player in Europe, Cristiano Ronaldo, is fit to face his boyhood club, graduating from their academy and spending six years at Lisbon before joining Manchester United. There is also a possibility of Karim Benzema being in the starting lineup as the likes of Marcelo, Carvajal and Casemiro is likely to start the game. Goalkeeper Keylor Navas and left back Fabio Coentrao are both out with foot injuries, however, but Isco who had a knock on his ankle can be on the bench.
Sporting Lisbon will be fielding their strongest possible side with Ronaldo’s international teammates Rui Patricio and William Carvalho in the starting line-up. They will miss their left back Jefferson due to injury, who suffered a dead leg recently.
Real Madrid: Casilla; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo
Sporting Lisbon: Rui Patricio; Pereira, Coates, Semedo, Zeegelaar; Silva, Carvalho; Martins, Ruiz, Cesar; Dost
Zinedine Zidane: “[Ronaldo]’s happy and we all enjoyed having him back. I always want him with us. He will play an hour or so against Sporting CP and we will see what happens. There are many games and we must be careful.”
Jorge Jesus: “We were strong collectively [against Moreirense]. We could have scored more goals, but many players were coming from back from their national teams and we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Bas Dost is a bit like [Islam] Slimani.”