Champions League semi-finals: Real Madrid scouting
How they got here
P10 W7 D1 L2 F26 A12
Group H runners-up: W3-0 v APOEL (h), W1-3 v Dortmund (a), D1-1 v Tottenham (h), L3-1 v Tottenham (a), W0-6 v APOEL (a), W3-2 v Dortmund (h)
Round of 16: W5-2 v Paris – W3-1 (h), W1-2 (a)
Quarter-finals: W4-3 v Juventus – W0-3 (a), L1-3 (h)
Possible starting XI
Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro, Modrić, Kroos, Isco; Benzema, Ronaldo
Style of play
Zinédine Zidane likes a 4-4-2 diamond, with Isco at the tip of midfield supporting Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo. For a team who generally enjoy a lot of possession, Madrid are at their scintillating best on the counter and often sit off opponents to exploit their blistering pace and precision.
Top Fantasy point scorers
Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (84 points)
Defender: Marcelo (35 points)
Midfielder: Luka Modrić (26 points)
Goalkeeper: Keylor Navas (26 points)
Zinédine Zidane: ‘Zizou’ took over in January 2016, with Madrid experiencing a crisis of confidence, and led them to UEFA Champions League glory. He proved that was no fluke by retaining the title. For a player as outrageously talented and expressive as he was, the 45-year-old Frenchman is pretty understated.
Why might they win it?
The Merengues have won the last two editions of the UEFA Champions League and three of the last four. With 12 triumphs in total, the club have lifted five more European Cups than nearest rivals AC Milan. This season continental glory is all the more imperative given the side’s relatively poor showing in the Liga and Copa del Rey. Oh, and then there’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Room for improvement?
Zidane’s men are prone to lapses at the back and concede what typically would be too many goals for champions – though so far they have made amends at the other end. With such dynamic attacking full-backs, Madrid can also be vulnerable in wide areas, a weakness Juventus exploited in the quarter-finals.
What you didn’t know already
If the Blancos win the competition this term, aside from a historic #UCL hat-trick, it would be their 13th European Cup – more victories than the next most successful two clubs combined!