Clash of ‘La Leagues’

Tomorrow’s Champions League encounter at the Bernabeu is one of the most anticipated meetings between the sides in some time.

The Spanish media have gone somewhat slightly over board by stating ‘It’s Madrid’s biggest game in their Champions League history‘.

Quite ludicrous bearing in mind Real Madrid have won the European title a record nine times – But none the less this is a huge game for both United and Madrid sides.

In recent times I have regularly compared La Liga and the Premier League, often with La Liga coming out trumps, but tomorrow nights game will give a major indication of which league is of a higher footballing standard. 

Manchester United are currently sat at the summit of the Premier League with a healthy lead over Manchester City, whereas Real Madrid have disappointed on all levels this season and currently hold third spot in La Liga, six points behind fellow Madrid side Atletico and a huge sixteen points behind Barcelona.

If Real conquer Sir Alex Ferguson’s men, would this instantly mean that because Real are third in their league and United are first and should be considered the best in the Premier league, that La Liga is better than the Premier League? Tongue twister I know.

Either way, Manchester United will have to be at their best to beat even this inconsistent Madrid side – Not only will they have to be at their best, they will need to stop Real’s talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo.

During Sunday’s League game against Everton, it appeared there was an audition for a role to man mark Ronaldo this coming Wednesday. Phil Jones was tested against Marouane Fellaini and did a fantastic job at keeping the Toffees main man quiet, closing him down whenever he received the ball.

I’d expect Jones to keep his place in the holding midfield role, but this will be a totally different experience playing against the second best player in the world. 

This could be where the game is won and lost and keeping the Portuguese man quiet will be the first thing in order to get back to Old Trafford with something to play for – Phil Jones is the key to success.

With Ronaldo in form and hitting a hat-rick at the weekend, he will be eager to face his former club for the first time since leaving the North-West.

The first leg of a game like this one is always a close encounter, with both teams reluctant to take any chances. Should United come away even one goal down they still have a chance, should they score at the Bernabeu then it’s ‘game on’ for the reverse fixture next month.