The Champions League has returned and with it, Real Madrid is ready to defend its title in the Round of 16. Cristiano Ronaldo’s crew face Napoli on Feb. 15, so get ready to watch every single kick, block and gooooooal!
Winning the first game of a two-leg round is critical, and Real Madrid has the home field advantage for this first meeting with Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli (aka Napoli.) The Italians will head to Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid to meet their Spanish rivals. Will Los Blancos suffer another humiliating loss, or will they send Partenopei packing back to Stadium San Paolo with a crushing defeat? The game is set for 2:45 PM ET so tune in to see what happens!
Napoli have won the UEFA Cup once, back in 1988-89. There hasn’t been a lot of European success, whereas Real Madrid are the defending Champions League champs. Despite the odds against them, Napoli think they still have a chance of being like Sevilla or Celta Vigo and pulling off the upset.
“We’ve played Barcelona in the Gamper trophy and in Geneva, but never against Real Madrid,” Aurelio De Laurentiis, president of Napoli, told BeIN Sports, according to Goal.com. “No team is unbeatable, it’s just the circumstances which decide the outcome. Napoli have grown a lot and are the only Italian side to have been in the Champions League for seven years in a row. I have to point out that Napoli’s turnover is about a quarter of Real Madrid’s, Manchester United‘s and Manchester City‘s.”
“All teams have to fear their opponent and maybe Napoli are hungrier than Real Madrid. If Real Madrid were to lose the title, even beating Napoli, it wouldn’t be a big drama. For Napoli, a win would be a heroic act,” he added. He’s not wrong. Perhaps having their back against the wall will give Partenopei the edge?
Or, perhaps their diet is the key? In preparation for this game, Napoli’s medical staff has enacted a strict diet on their players, according to All Sport English. The biggest ban on the list: pizza. Yes, this Italian squad was reportedly forbidden to eat pizza, as the carbohydrates were a no-no. Also reportedly gone from the menu: all alcohol whatsoever. No pizza. No beer. Hopefully, it’s worth it. If not, they may need to get a slice and a drink to help console their sorrows.
Who do you want to win this game, HollywoodLifers? Do you want Napoli to score the upset or do you want to see Real Madrid go back-to-back?