MANILA, Philippines - "This is the match that the whole world is waiting to see."
These are the words of Real Madrid coach, José Mourinho, ahead of the Los Blancos' match against the Red Devils in Santiago Bernabéu on Wednesday, February 13 (February 14, 3:45 a.m. PH time).
The reigning La Liga champions will try to restore its winning ways after a sub-par performance in the local league, settling for third place behind Atletico Madrid and arch-rivals Barcelona, when it clashes with Sir Alex Ferguson's men in the Round of 16, knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Real Madrid was eliminated in the semifinals of last season's Champions League, losing to eventual runner up Bayern Munich on penalties.
Manchester United, on the other hand, the current leaders of the English Premier League 12 points ahead of reigning league champions Manchester City, will also try to score a win and put a cushion on goals when the second leg of the fixture is brought to Old Trafford.
United finished as the runner up in the 2011 edition of the Champions League falling to the mighty Barcelona, 3-1, in Wembley Stadium. The Reds failed to qualify in the group stages last year.
When they last met... Real Madrid won the quarterfinals match against Manchester United almost 10 years ago in April 2003. The aggregate score was 6-5.
The Red Devils however have not won any of their away games against Real Madrid. The record stands at two wins and two draws for the Whites.
Why this game is important...
For Manchester United: This will be a redeeming match for the Red Devils after a less graceful exit from last year's Champions League campaign, bowing down as early as the group stages.
It will also be a chance for Sir Alex's new signings to show their impact and influence against a formidable foe in Real Madrid. Robin van Persie's goal-scoring exploits and Shinji Kagawa's exceptional vision in the midfield will be put to the test.
For Real Madrid: This will be a fresh start for the Whites and their fans after a not-so-laudable La Liga campaign so far. This will also be a proving ground for Mourinho to dispel (or confirm) the rumors about the recent falling out in the team. Either way, this will be a very important game for Madrid to add some color in its European title campaign.
It will also be interesting for Cristiano Ronaldo as he will meet his former team for the first time. Ronaldo joined the Red Devils when he was 18 years old and was groomed to stardom by Sir Alex Ferguson before becoming the most expensive player with the transfer to the Bernabéu. - Rappler.com