Isco v Christian Eriksen and other key battles as Real Madrid host Tottenham

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The global appeal of the Champions League is that it throws up clashes like tonight’s offering which sees Real Madrid host Tottenham.

The two sides have maximum points from their opening two Group H games and the meeting at the Bernabeu will see an array of talent on display.

With that in mind, we look at some of the tasty key battles which will be on the menu.


On the night Tottenham last faced Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, Harry Kane played five minutes for Leyton Orient against Plymouth.

Some six years later and the repeat clash is being billed as a potential dress rehearsal for Kane one day joining the Galatico cast.

To impress, the England international will have to put on some show against one of the world’s best defenders – Sergio Ramos.

Both are their side’s defining player, with Ramos as Real’s defensive general and Kane the man providing Spurs’ attacking thrust.

It will be a positional duel because Kane is incredibly difficult to pin down. He picks up the ball in between the lines, looks to link up with Son and Christian Eriksen and then will also look to get in behind.

He’s difficult to track, deceptively quick and has a deftly finishing touch in tight situations. Zindine Zidane is right to call Kane one of the most complete forward’s in Europe because it’s not just from an attacking perspective he will cause Ramos problems.

His boundless energy in the press means the Madrid skipper will be under immediate pressure to get the ball out from the back and considering his average of 74.9 passes per game (the third most of La Liga defenders this season), it’s clear Ramos will be in the spotlight defensively and offensively.


This is Cristiano Ronaldo’s stage. While he suffered a La Liga drought – in Ronaldo terms anyway – up until scoring the vital winner against Getafe last weekend, the Portuguese star has already netted four times in Europe.

He is the competition’s highest ever scorer with 110 and it’s not just the Champions League which has brought the best out of the 32-year-old, but tonight’s opponents as well.

In 16 games against Spurs, Ronaldo has never lost and has plundered eight goals. It’s an ominous sign for the visitors and in particular defender Toby Alderweireld.

Injuries may force Mauricio Pochettino to ditch his back three but regardless the in-form Belgian will be the man to marshall Ronaldo given his tendency to pull out onto the left.

But Alderweireld possesses the qualities necessary to negate Ronaldo in that he carries poise in one-v-one situations and crucially is calm in those types of situations as well.

Given Spurs have kept a clean sheet in all but one of their five games in all competitions and two in five away from home, they appear a more resolute side on their travels – though Ronaldo and the Bernabeu are different beasts entirely.

17 10 Ronaldo v Alderweireld


If you have a penchant for creative midfielders then this match-up is a dream.

Christian Eriksen and Isco are two ingenuous playmakers and while they won’t be in direct competition, the clash at the Bernabeu will come down to which midfield is able to exert their influence.

Eriksen is the obvious dangerman behind Kane. He’s created more chances in the league (80) in 2017 more than any other player in Europe’s top-five leagues.

Isco likewise will be returned to the starting line-up having missed the win over Getafe at the weekend. That game also producing the intriguing moment of Luka Modric telling the benched Spaniard to get warm after Getafe had taken the lead, an indicator of how big of a role his team-mates feel he has to play.

He was instrumental in Madrid’s consecutive Champions League triumphs and was one of the reasons why Zidane switched to a 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2 formation, incorporating the playmaker in a central attacking role.

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