Ronaldo the lone 'BBC' star for injury-hit Real
Published 22/04/2015 | 02:30
Real Madrid's chances of adding an 11th European Cup to the 10th they won last year receded somewhat yesterday when striker Karim Benzema joined Gareth Bale in the treatment room, leaving only the C of their BBC strikeforce available to face neighbours Atletico in the Champions League quarter-final second leg tonight.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be joined by Javier Hernandez and James Rodriguez in attack at the Bernabeu - not a shabby line-up but not one as potent as it could have been. Hernandez has failed to shine in Spain since his loan move from Manchester United.
Atletico have beaten their neighbours four times and drawn against them three times in their bid for revenge for last season's Champions League final, which Real won 4-1 after extra time.
"We have to show intensity, be completely focused, (we must) all stick together. I think that if we do that we'll come away with an excellent result," Rodriguez said.
Luka Modric is also injured but coach Carlo Ancelotti was hoping to have Benzema available after suffering a knee problem in the 0-0 draw in last week's first leg against Atletico. "He seemed to be doing well. Then on Saturday and Sunday he hasn't improved," Ancelotti said.
"He has a swollen knee. Hernandez has been doing well in games and looked physically strong against Malaga (at the weekend)."
Meanwhile, the Atletico striker Mario Mandzukic is bruised but ready to face Real, his coach Diego Simeone said yesterday. The Croatian suffered a cut nose after an elbow by Sergio Ramos in the first leg. "We had a training session yesterday and he was fine," Simeone said. "We now have another session where we expect him to be OK and I will base my plan around that."
Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid, live, Sky Sports 1/RTE2, 7.45