REAL MADRID - M. CITY

Five reasons Real Madrid can reach the Milan final

Carvajal and Marcelo

In Carvajal and Marcelo, Zinedine Zidane possesses two reliable defenders who also provide the team with attacking prowess. The Brazilian left back is joint third with Luka Modric in terms of the number of balls he has recovered in the Champions League (49), behind only Casemiro and Toni Kroos. Meanwhile, Carvajal has the backing of the Bernabéu and, with regards to statistics, has completely overshadowed Danilo, whose disastrous performances against Wolfsburg have caused Zizou to reevaluate his options on the right flank. The Spain international has recovered 34 balls over 540 minutes of Champions League football; almost twice the number his Brazilian counterpart has managed (18 over 507 minutes).

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Keylor Navas

With Keylor Navas between the sticks, Real Madrid have one of the safest pair of hands in the business to rely on. The Costa Rican has a spotless record at home in the Champions League, having conceded zero times at Bernabéu on the European stage. The former Levante shot-stopper has only shipped two goals in the competition, both of which came in the quarter-final first leg defeat in Wolfsburg. Of the ten Champions League appearances Keylor has made for Real Madrid, los blancos have won eight, losing only the aforementioned game in Germany and drawing away to PSG.

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History

Real Madrid have drawn nil-all in first legs away from home on nine occasions in European competitions. On eight of those occasions los merengues have been able to finish the job off in the Bernabéu. The only exception to that rule came at the quarter-final stage of the 1991 European Cup when Spartak Moscow put the LaLiga outfit to the sword with a 1-3 victory. Last season Chicharito produced the goods in the quarter-final return leg to dump Atlético Madrid out of the competition after Carlo Ancelotti’s team had been held to a scoreless draw at the Vicente Calderón.

Photo: GERARD JULIEN AFP

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s return

The Portuguese powerhouse is leaving nothing to chance to ensure he is fit and available to face Manchester City on Wednesday night. After missing the first leg, the former Red Devil is now chomping at the bit to smash his own goalscoring record in the competition. The 31-year-old’s Champions League tally this season sits at 16 goals, one behind the 17 he managed during Real Madrid’s La Décima winning campaign.

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The Bernabéu faithful

The Santiago Bernabéu will be in full force on Wednesday, spurring the team on as the players endeavour to book their places in the Milan final. Tickets for the second leg showdown were sold out within three days of going on sale so Real Madrid will not be lacking in support from the fans.

Photo: ANTONIO VILLALBA/REALMADRID REAL MADRID

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