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Oct 21, 200914:45 Live
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The nine-time European winners Real Madrid will host Carlo Ancelotti’s former club AC Milan.
There will be no Cristiano Ronaldo for Los Blancos but the clash still promises to be titanic as Ricardo Kaka will reunite with the Rossoneri.
Florentino Perez’s all-new squad is hunting for success in the Champions League this season and midfielder Xabi Alonso is relishing the prospect of clinching the prestigious cup.
He told Marca on Friday:
"There is still a long way to go, but it would be great to be able to stamp our authority in the Champions League.
"Obviously there is a long way to go. However, it is a priority goal for this season."
Winning the trophy is indeed a must for Los Blancos and Wednesday’s match against Italian giants AC Milan will come as a test for coach Manuel Pellegrini.
The former Villarreal boss has been given the task of guiding Real Madrid all the way to the final which will be played at the same venue, the Santiago Bernabeu.
His all-star squad failed in their first big test this season; that was when they were without the services of Cristiano Ronaldo and eventually lost 2-1 away to Sevilla in La Liga.
Real Madrid’s encounter against AC Milan couldn’t come at a better time for the Madridists: the Rossoneri are experiencing a tough time this season with the absence of both Kaka and Carlo Ancelotti.
Table statistics prove it all: AC Milan only clinched a narrow victory against Marseille on match-day one of the Champions League. In their next fixture against Swiss side FC Zurich, the Rossoneri surprisingly lost 1-0 at the San Siro.
Consequently, AC Milan are three points behind Real Madrid in Group C going in match-day three. However, they could close in on Los Blancos with a victory at the Santiago Bernabeu. Still, the Rossoneri might lack behind Real Madrid due to goal difference.
Thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s tally and the good job in defense, Real Madrid have a plus-six goal difference compared to AC Milan who have zero after scoring only twice and letting two goals in their net.
Everyone in the Madrid squad want to think that the team can win without the services of the world’s most expensive player, Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese winger has scored half of Los Blancos’ goals in Europe this season and there are concerns about how Real Madrid will cop without him for this upcoming titanic clash.
However, Manuel Pellegrini should have enough tools at his disposal to answer the doubters. The likes of Karim Benzema, Raul, Gonzalo Higuain, and Esteban Granero upfront should fill in the gap if they are made available.
Above all, goals aren’t always scored by forwards in games. Real Madrid’s other mega-star, Ricardo Kaka, could set the tone against his former team AC Milan.
The Brazilian midfielder will be the main attraction on Wednesday night and he could use this opportunity to shine at his full best in front of Real Madrid’s home fans.
But Kaka is not the only player who will reunite with his former club. On the other side, Milan’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Clarence Seedorf are names that will also experience the same situation.
Ricardo Kaka definitely tops this list for Real Madrid but another player to watch will be veteran midfielder Guti.
The 32-year-old Spaniard is racing against time to be fit for Real Madrid’s home clash against AC Milan and he clearly proved his determination to feature in this game by telling Marca:
“What I do not want to miss is the clash against Milan.”
For AC Milan, Clarence Seedorf, ‘Pipo’ Inzaghi, and Kaka’s admirer Pato are poised to lift the struggling Rossoneri on their shoulders.
And who knows? There might even be another spice in the game should Real Madrid’s former Catalan rival Ronaldinho feature for the Milanese.