MADIRD (Sporting Alert) – Jose Mourinho, one of the masters of the mind-games, is back at it again after he named his Real Madrid starting XI a day early for the Champions League semi-final clash with Borussia Dortmund.
Following the return of captain and regular No. 1 Iker Casillas, who is now fully fit from injury, Mourinho was asked about his choice in goal for Wednesday night’s game.
The Portuguese coach revealed that Diego Lopez would start ahead of Casillas, but the former Chelsea and Inter Milan manager also went on name his full squad at his press conference.
He confirmed that Gonzalo Higuain would start ahead of Karim Benzema and play along side Cristiano Ronaldo, while Mesut Ozil, Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira would start as well.
Mourinho said his only concern was with Angel Di Maria.
He said: “Diego Lopez, Ramos, Varane, Pepe, Coentrão, Khedira, Alonso, Ozil, Higuain, Cristiano Ronaldo and hopefully Di Maria, who’s had a good day because his daughter was born but it’s been rough because it wasn’t an easy situation for him or his family, will play. We hope he’s ready to play.”
Real Madrid will be looking to put on a better display against German outfits, following Barcelona’s 4-0 defeat at Bayern Munich on Tuesday night.
On current form, Real Madrid, despite playing away from home, will start the slight favourite team, but Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is also confident in his “special” team.
“Borussia Dortmund is a special club and is the time to prove it,” Klopp said. “We’re facing a match that means a lot and I hope that everyone comes out to support us to reach our goal.
“I’m not all that interested in what Real Madrid does because we have our fans on our side and if they back us like always we’ll have no problem.
“We’ve had exceptional opportunities when our fans have done a fantastic job supporting us and that’s why I hope that they cheer us on in a match that means so much to us”.
Klopp also commented about the timing of the announcement that one his best players, Mario Gotze, would leave at the end of the season to join Bayern Munich.
“It would have been worse to wait four hours before the match but from one to ten on a scale of negativity this is a nine,” the coach said.
“There could have been better moments to give the news and we all know why it was announced. I found out that it was done yesterday at 10:00 p.m. and received information on what was happening Thursday after the match against Malaga.
“It’s unexpected news for us and we’re all disappointed because Götze is an exceptional player. This is the situation and the only thing he could say is that last year we signed Reus for 17 million euros when he played with Mönchengladbach.
“That’s business. Now more than ever we want to play well and win this match. I don’t think that Götze, his agents or Bayern Munich were interested in letting the news out now.”
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REAL MADRID LINE-UP:
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Diego López, Adán y Jesús.
Defenders: Varane, Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Coentrão, Albiol, Carvalho y Nacho.
Midfielders: : Xabi Alonso, Khedira, Özil, Kaká, Modric, Callejón, Di María y Casemiro.
Strikers: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuaín y Morata.