It’s that time of year again when Spain’s Capital City is once again divided into two with Real Madrid travelling to the Arganzuela district of Madrid where they will face off against rivals Atlético Madrid.
“The respect we have for fans doesn’t allow us to joke around in the derby. We will give our all at the Calderon and we’ll see if that’s enough. We will try to showcase our quality. We are very motivated because it will be a very important match. Games preceding a Champions League match are difficult because you risk losing focus. Games following a Champions League match are different and usually tinged by physical and psychological exhaustion. They are equally dangerous. The derby will be tough because we’ll face a great team, but it will also be easier to play because everyone will give their all.”– Mourinho
Atlético are desperate to break the “curse” against their cross-town rivals on Saturday, since they have not beaten the whites in all competitions since the 1999-00 season a total of 20 games. In fact, the last victory for the colchoneros came October 30, 1999 when Hasselbaink scored a brace with José Mari scoring the other for the rojiblancos in a 3-1 victory at the Santiago Bernabéu which would be the last time the derby would take place at the Bernabéu until the 2002-03 season as Atlético Madrid were relegated at the end of the 1999-00 season.
Both teams have met three times this season, once in league and twice in the quarter-final stage of the King’s Cup. During the first meeting this season at the Santiago Bernabéu, Real Madrid ran out comfortable 2-0 winners; Carvalho and Özil the goal scorers. The second meeting saw Real Madrid come from behind in the first leg of the King’s Cup to defeat the colchoneros, who had taken the lead seven minutes in through Forlán. However, Ramos, Ronaldo and Özil ensured victory for the whites. In the third meeting, Real Madrid went to the Vicente Calderón and came away with a 1-0 victory courtesy of a Ronaldo goal.
There have been 172 official matches between both teams with Real Madrid dominating the fixture with 92 wins, 38 draws and 42 losses; 295 goals for and 225 against. But when it comes to a derby, all history and statistics are thrown out the window and all that is left is both teams showing their character; giving their blood, sweat and tears in every minute of the game until the final whistle and today will not be any different. So, despite Atlético Madrid’s recent run, which has seen them win only three games out 15 for the new year, it will be a different team that takes the pitch seeking to put an end to their misfortune, not only in league but also against their hated rivals, whom their fans refer to as “el equipo del gobierno, la vergüeñza del país”–the team of the government, the shame of the country.
“it doesn’t matter in what kind of form you go into a game like that; they’re always special matches for both teams. It’s going to be a tough match in which we’ll have to give our all on the pitch.”– Sergio Agüero
Last Five Games
Atlético Madrid’s last five games are as follows:
W @ Real Zaragoza 0-1
D vs Sevilla 2-2
D @ Getafe 1-1
W vs Villarreal 3-1
D @ Almería 2-2
Real Madrid’s last five games are as follows:
D @ Deportivo La Coruña 0-0
W vs Málaga 7-0
W @ Racing Santander 3-1
W vs Hércules 2-0
W vs Lyon 3-0 (Champions League)
“Cristiano would be fitter to play if the derby took place on Sunday. It’s only natural he’s not in top form after missing so many training sessions and playing 70 minutes against Lyon. Playing him would be a risk.”– Mourinho
Injuries and Suspensions
Real Madrid’s Ronaldo is still nursing a slight hamstring injury and is likely to be available only as a substitute to Mourinho if the need arises. Higuaín, Gago and Kaká are the only other players that will definitely be unavailable to the Real Madrid boss as both are out injured. Quique Sánchez Flores, on the other hand, has a full strength squad to pick from.
Atlético Madrid’s squad list is as follows:
Goalkeepers: De Gea, Joel
Defenders: Valera, Antonio López, Filipe Luis, Godín, Ujfalusi, Domínguez, Perea
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Raúl García, Elías, Fran Mérida, Paulo Assunção, Reyes, Juanfran, Koke
Forwards: Forlán, Agüero, Diego Costa
The squad list for Real Madrid is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Adán, Dudek
Defenders: Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Arbeloa, Albiol, Garay, Carvalho
Midfielders: Lass, X. Alonso, Khedira, Granero, Canales, Özil, Di Maria, Pedro León
Forwards: Benzema, Adebayor, Ronaldo