AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR PREVIEW: Roma v Real Madrid

[dropcap]R[/dropcap]eal Madrid are odds-on favourites for their clash with Roma tonight in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie but it might not be as straight forward as the odds suggest.

The Spanish side look vulnerable at the moment having won just one of their last four away games and face a Roma side who have won their last four games in Serie A – three of them by two goal margins.

It’s a long time since this pair met – but it was Roma who triumphed back in 2008 – a point that Roma’s boss Luciano Spalletti will no doubt be keen to reinforce before sending out his troops.

Much will revolve, as always, around Cristiano Ronaldo who is the Champions League’s all-time record scorer with 88 goals and has already bagged 11 this season.

Speaking ahead of the match at the Stadio Olimpico, Spalletti added: “I don’t want to say that my players have one third of Ronaldo’s quality. If so, we’d need 33 players to deal with him.”

He added “I don’t think there’s a favourite. We’ve got a 50% chance of going through. I’m very optimistic, as I’ve seen my players improving all the time. I wouldn’t be amazed if it was my team who went through.”

Real Madrid are without Gareth Bale who is sidelined by a calf strain.

Roma v Real Madrid
UEFA Champions League Last-16 1st Leg
19:45 BT Sport Europe / BT Sport Europe HD

(Maximum 10 matches)
Mar 2008 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Real Madrid 1-2 Roma
Feb 2008 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Roma 2-1 Real Madrid
Dec 2004 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Roma 0-3 Real Madrid
Sep 2004 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Real Madrid 4-2 Roma
Oct 2002 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Real Madrid 0-1 Roma
Sep 2002 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Roma 0-3 Real Madrid
Oct 2001 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Real Madrid 1-1 Roma
Sep 2001 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Roma 1-2 Real Madrid

11/4 the draw tonight looks fair enough. It might well be a different story at the Bernabéu Stadium but that’s for another day.

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