Cristiano Ronaldo’s name is making a lot of rounds in the media today – not only because he is celebrating his 29th birthday, but because the verdict following his dissmissal against Athletic Bilbao on Matchday 22 of La Liga has fallen. CR7 has been slapped with a three-match ban but it only applies in the league.
Coincidentally, Ronaldo’s penultimate sending off happened at the Santiago Bernabeu against Atletico Madrid; that was in the Copa del Rey final, last season. This Wednesday, the visitors and their traveling fans might do all they can to provoke Ronaldo in their favour. While the Ballon d’Or winner’s temper is set to be tested once more, his desire to make up for his moment of madness at San Mames could work out in Real Madrid’s favour.
As confirmed by Carlo Ancelotti, the red-carded Portuguese superstar will start this Spanish Cup match alongside defenders Fabio Coentrao and Alvaro Arbeloa. The return of injury prone Welshman Gareth Bale is also a huge boost for the hosts who have lost each of their last two games against Atleti – in the Copa del Rey final in May 2013 and in September 2013 in La Liga.
Things are really going Atletico’s way of late. They are on top of the standings in the league and enter the Spanish Cup semi-final encounter at the Bernabeu as the tournament’s defending champions. Still, coach Diego Simeone is wary of Los Blancos’ threat.
“When we faced Madrid, in week six of the league, they'd had very few games with their coach,” he explained.
“They've got better and have developed a 4-3-3 that works well for the attackers they've got. There's no doubt they're better now.”
In six Copa del Rey matches this season, Real Madrid have scored eight goals and conceded none. Atletico, meanwhile, have allowed three in their net but scored more goals (12) than their city rivals.
Watch Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid live on Wednesday, February 5, 2013:
In Canada at 14:00 ET:
|Canada||beIN Sports Play Canada|
In USA at 14:00 ET:
|United States||beIN Sports en Español, beIN Sports Play, beIN Sports USA|
For full worldwide listings and live scores during the game, visit the Real Madrid-Atletico Madrid match page.