Manchester United star Wayne Rooney (C) takes part in a training session alongside teammates Michael Carrick (L) and Ryan Giggs at Carrington yesterday on the eve of their Champions League clash against Real Madrid. Photo: AFP
The world's richest football clubs Real Madrid and Manchester United meet on Wednesday here in a Champions League last 16 first-leg tie described by Jose Mourinho as "the match the world is waiting for".
Alex Ferguson takes his United side to the Spanish capital after extending their lead at the top of the Premier League to 12 points with Sunday's 2-0 win at home to Everton.
The meeting also marks the latest instalment in the Ferguson-Mourinho duel with the Scot emerging triumphant last time the pair locked horns as United dispatched Mourinho's former employers Inter Milan 2-0 on aggregate at the same stage of the 2008-09 competition.
His current Madrid side is sixteen points behind Barcelona in La Liga and only the delivery of a tenth Champions League title to the famous old club would be enough to appease his critics in the Spanish capital.
Mourinho's reign at Madrid has been a tumultuous one this season, with a series of dressing room disputes between the Portuguese coach and his players.
Despite the problems Madrid are enjoying some good form, losing only once in twelve outings in all competitions, and it is two years since they lost a Champions League game at the Santiago Bernabeu when Barcelona were the victors.
Cristiano Ronaldo will face his old club on the back of another hattrick in the 4-1 win over Sevilla on Saturday and his attacking partner Gonzalo Higuain is convinced their side can beat United in the Bernabeu.
Madrid are almost at full strength and the inclusion or not of Portuguese centre-half Pepe is Mourinho's big dilemma.