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"The World Will Stop To Watch" United Against Madrid - Mourinho

posted 4 Mar 2013, 15:06 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 4 Mar 2013, 15:07 ]

Jose Mourinho says "the world will stop to watch" as Real Madrid visit Manchester United in the Champions League with the two teams in top domestic form.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MARCH 4, 2013) (REUTERS) - Jose Mourinho hopes he is still managing in his seventies like ManchesterUnited's Alex Ferguson, the Real Madrid boss said as he prepared to face him in a Champions League clash "the world will stop to watch".

At 50, the Portuguese has a couple of decades to go if he is to still be working at 71 like Ferguson, whose side host the Spanish champions in their eye-catching Champions League last 16 second leg on Tuesday (March 5).

With both teams on good runs - Real having recorded back-to-back wins over arch rivalsBarcelona and United clear in the Premier League - Mourinho said he had no idea what would divide them on the night.

"They are in a fantastic run," he said, joking that United had won the Premier Leaguealready.

"But we are also in a good form in 2013. That's the million dollar question - who knows what is going to make the difference," Mourinho added.

Real will hope the difference might be forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored the equaliser in the first leg against his former club.

Team mate Xabi Alonso, who used to face Ronaldo during his Liverpool days, was glad he was playing with him rather than against him.

"The fact that I spent five years in England playing at Liverpool, whenever I come back to England it makes it an extra special occasion for me and there was a special rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United, so that adds slightly but you do not need to add anything to this match tomorrow night as it has every ingredient to be a fantastic game and entertaining spectacle and everyone will be glued to the television watching it," said the Spanish midfielder.

Although he said he had "no idea" what was going to make the difference between the two sides on the night, the former Chelsea, Inter Milan and Porto manager has plenty of experience of Manchester United encounters to draw on.

Not least the moment nine years ago when as Porto manager he dashed madly up the touchline to celebrate his team knocking United out of the Champions League.

With the experience of more than 100 matches in Europe's elite club competition now, Mourinho reckons he would react differently if he knocked them out again on Tuesday.

"I have won and lost and drawn, the last time I can here I lost with Inter in the Champions League so I have everything against Man United,"

"I don't know how many times I have played here, I play with Porto, with Inter and with Chelsea in the Premier League, FA Cup and Carling Cup, so maybe 20 times I play against Man United. I have won drawn and lost so I don't care about records, I care about that tomorrow is the kind of match where anything can happen, I know football well enough and big matches well enough to know that tomorrow we can go through, or go out," Mourinho added.

Real's preparations for the big game have been taking place a stone's throw away from United's with Jose Mourinho's side using Manchester City's training facilities after arriving in England a day earlier than usual for a European game.

Mourinho, who enjoys sharing a bottle of wine with Ferguson, will be without goalkeeperIker Casillas who has fractured his hand but otherwise has a full squad to chose from and one that is bursting with confidence.

The match at Old Trafford, which is evenly poised after a 1-1 first-leg draw in Madrid, is the outstanding game in Europe this week as the Champions League tempo increases with three other round-of-16 ties being decided.

The two teams are in great form and only the finest of margins are likely to separate them.

United, having thrashed Norwich City 4-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday, are 15 points clear of champions Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

Real have re-discovered their old verve with two morale-boosting wins over arch-rivalsBarcelona last week, beating them 3-1 in the King's Cup and 2-1 in La Liga.

Probable teams:

Manchester United: 1-David de Gea; 2-Rafael, 5-Rio Ferdinand, 6-Jonny Evans, 3-Patrice Evra; 16-Michael Carrick, 23-Tom Cleverley; 10-Wayne Rooney, 26-Shinji Kagawa, 19-Danny Welbeck; 20-Robin van Persie

Real Madrid: 41-Diego Lopez; 17-Alvaro Arbeloa, 3-Pepe, 4-Sergio Ramos, 5-Fabio Coentrao; 14-Xabi Alonso, 6-Sami Khedira; 22-Angel Di Maria, 10-Mesut Ozil, 7-Cristiano Ronaldo; 9-Karim Benzema

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)