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Season-Defining Eight Days For Real Madrid
Author: George Pitts Updated published : 25 Feb 2013 17:20:18
With Real Madrid’s hopes of retaining the league title all but gone, the clubs hopes of silverware will become clearer in their next three games.
First up for Los Blancos is a visit to the Nou Camp on Tuesday night, for the semi final second-leg of the Copa Del Rey against holders Barcelona. The contest is currently tied at 1-1 and they come up against a Barca side that are unbeaten on home soil in the last 22 games.
Both teams are expected to name near full strength sides and forgotten man Kaka is pushing for a starting place after an impressive performance, and a goal, helped Madrid beat Deportivo La Coruna at the weekend.
Madrid return to league action on Saturday in another El Classico against Barca, this time playing hosts. With Barca holding an unassailable lead at the top of La Liga, Madrid will be aiming to win bragging rights over their Catalan rivals whilst also looking to close the four-point gap on second-placed city rivals Athletico.
The battle for second place is essentially between both Madrid sides, with fourth-placed Malaga ten points adrift of third placed Real, who will be looking to rectify a poor first half of the season.
The last game of this tricky period, and probably the most important, is the small matter of an away trip to Man United in the Champions League. The tie is delicately poised at 1-1 and both sides are desperate to pass through to the last eight.
Madrid haven’t triumphed in the Champions League in over a decade and they last won the Copa Del Rey two seasons ago as they beat Barcelona after extra time to win the competition for the 18th time.
With this season appearing to be his last in the Bernabeu hot-seat, Jose Mourinho will be aiming to finish on a high by bringing the Champions League trophy ‘home’, to a club which has won it a record nine times.
The Portuguese is looking for his third Champions League triumph and he will emphasise to his players how important the make or break games in the week ahead are.