UEFA Champions League Preview: Napoli v Real Madrid

Tuesday 7th March , 2017 9:42 am

“The pressure is all on Madrid” according to Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri, with his side determined to channel their fans’ passion as they bid to overturn a 3-1 deficit against the European champions.

  • Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri puts pressure on Madrid: “they have to qualify”
  • Real Madrid recovered from a goal down to win 3-1 in the first leg on 15 February
  • Dries Mertens (calf) and Allan (thigh) the only doubts for Napoli

Possible line-ups: 
Napoli: Reina; Hysaj, Koulibaly, Albiol, Ghoulam; Zieliński, Diawara, Hamšík; Callejón, Mertens, Insigne.
: Allan (thigh), Mertens (calf)
Misses next match if booked
: Koulibaly

Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modrić; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Out: Varane (thigh), Coentrão (muscular problem)
Misses next match if booked: Modrić, Ramos

Maurizio Sarri, Napoli coach
The pressure is all on Madrid. They are the world champions, the richest club, the best, so they have to qualify. However, our fans are world champions as well – and all of Europe will see that.

I don’t think fans screaming will cause Madrid real problems. The only thing that can scare a man is to see incredible determination in the eyes of their opponents, and that’s what I hope our fans will transmit to the players.

Zinédine Zidane, Madrid coach
Champions League games are always difficult. We are up against a team that does not lose much, especially at home. I experienced the atmosphere here as a player and it was never easy. The fans really get behind the home team but that helps give the visitors extra motivation, too.

Napoli will start with great intensity as they need to score. I don’t think they will be tired after Saturday’s win at Roma – when you win a big away game like that you don’t get tired, you gain strength. I’m sure we will have to suffer at times but we are ready for it.

Weekend results
Roma 1-2 Napoli (Strootman 89; Mertens 26 50)
Mertens struck twice – his first goals in exactly a month – to take his Serie A tally to 18 for the season. Napoli had lost three of their previous four games in all competitions.

Eibar 1-4 Real Madrid (Rubén Peña 72; Benzema 14 25, James Rodríguez 29, Asensio 60)
Karim Benzema had found the net just once in his last ten matches prior to his early double in Eibar. Zidane’s men have now scored in 46 successive fixtures in all competitions.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Napoli: WLLWLW
Madrid: WDWLWW




Source: UEFA