Match preview: Real Madrid vs. Atlético Madrid

El Derbi madrileño beckons for travel-shy Atlético

José Antonio Reyes and Cristiano Ronaldo  (

José Antonio Reyes and Cristiano Ronaldo

It’s the weekend that Atlético supporters all over the globe look forward to, and indeed dread in equal measure.

On Saturday, the Rojiblancos make the short journey north in search of their first derbi win in 12 years. Awaiting us are a Real Madrid side fresh off the back of their 13th consecutive win.

Kick-off at the Santiago Bernabéu is set for 20:00 CET.

No matter how big the gap between the sides may become, fans always believe going into this game that it could finally be the time we put an end to our miserable recent record.

However, Atleti were dealt a major blow this morning with the news that star striker Radamel Falcao would miss the game as a result of his nagging hamstring injury. The Colombian has been largely ineffective away from the Vicente Calderón this season, but his quality is always missed when not in the team.

Starting in his place for the second successive week will be the in-form Adrián, with Diego and Arda likely to provide ammunition in behind.

The occupant of the third attacking position could prove to be a problem for selection though, after Pizzi and Reyes both impressed off the bench against Levante last weekend.

Manzano’s differences with the Andalusian have been well documented over the past month, but it may be best for him to swallow his pride and opt for experience in a game of this magnitude.

Also missing will be Sílvio. The Portuguese defender limped out of the Levante game due to a knee injury, and could be sidelined for up to a month.

Coming into the squad are defenders Godín and Pulido, as well as Gabi, who pulled out before kick-off last week with illness.

Antonio López is still recovering from surgery and does not make the call, similar to Tiago who is nursing a rib problem.

As usual in the build-up to a derby, a number of players have been discussing our chances over the last week, including Adrián and Godín in this inventive video from the club website.

Meanwhile, Diego spoke in a press conference yesterday, and insisted that the team is confident of getting a result.

“We have to use our quality and personality and take our chances,” said the Brazilian.

“Real Madrid have to be respected, they are the favourites,”

“They are very strong, but we will try everything to put in a good performance.”

Also speaking this morning was Manzano, who highlighted the importance of the ‘good’ Atlético turning up for the game.

“We will try and prevent them from playing to their strengths,” he said.

“From this point of view we have to keep it tight. Madrid are very good on the counter attack.”

The Jaén-born manager also clarified the situation with Falcao.

“It is 100 per cent that he will not be available. It’s impossible,” he said.

“We do not want to take an unnecessary risk.”

For los Blancos, the main selection news is the return to fitness of Ángel di María and Marcelo. Their only notable absentees are Ricardo Carvalho and Kaká, who have both been out for over a month.

Manager José Mourinho was respectful towards Atlético in his pre-match interview, stressing that it would be no easy game for his team.

“Derbies are derbies and this one will also be complicated,“ said the 49-year-old.

“I expect Atletico Madrid to give a great performance.”

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Asenjo
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Domínguez, Perea, Miranda, Pulido
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Salvio, Reyes, Arda, Assunção, Gabi, Koke, Juanfran, Diego
Forwards: Adrián, Pizzi

Real Madrid match selection:
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Adán, Mejías
Defenders: Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Varane, Marcelo, Albiol, Coentrão
Midfielders: Özil, Di María, Şahin, Alonso, Altintop, Callejón, Lass, Granero, Khedira
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuaín, Benzema

Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz

Don’t forget to submit your score over at our Prediction League section!

  • DJ_ZA

    Well, this is the umpteenth preview I’ve read and only 2 (other being on madridatleticos) are not gifting the 3 points to los merengues. More cleverly and diplomatically, both previews have avoided predictions and shifted focus on team selection.

    Nobody else is giving Atleti a chance in hell.

    O YE OF LITTLE FAITH (and good sense). Well being the non-sensical sort (but mostly the nonsense-ical sort), I have only 1 thing to say :

    C’mon Rojiblancos! Prove them all wrong with a stunning victory. AUPA ATLETI!

    [I have a feeling my prediction league score might make nonsense of my enthusiasm].

    Enjoy the derby everyone 🙂
    Buenos noches

  • atletisrael

    The day has arrived. I will just say that a win will bring me to tears.
    We must bring a good performance. Real is probably the more experienced and talented side but they have less home grown players. The more emotional the game will get the better. We need passion and focus in order to get a reasult.

    Aupa Atleti!

  • Jose Ignacio Perez-Laorga

    The first thing we need is for our players to feel the colors they are wearing on their jersey. I honestly think that Falcao is better off not playing. Without out him we wont have power but we ll has contention, passing, and speed instead with Adrian. I honestly think that for now we are better off without him until Manzano figures out a way to make him fit in his strategy.
    Real madrid is going to come at us with everything they got, but we have an advantage. They have the pressure of playing at home, which means that they must win, and sometimes that gives the away a chance to win.
    It all depends on us now, we must play smart and calm, and please lets not pass the ball to Perea during the game, we are trying to play smart.

    I’m sorry Real Madrid, you got the money and talent, but you dont have the passion and support that atletico has from his fans.

    Aupa Atleti!!!!

  • starvs

    so so upset I can’t watch this game.

  • DJ_ZA

    Aaah. Sorry starvs 🙁 You can always try a complete media blackout and watch it later? … or maybe you’ll be the lucky one not suffering as much after the rest of us have witnessed yet another disappointing display?

    PS. come clean …. it’s cos you’re on a mission to ‘Free Koke’ that you’ll be missing the match, isn’t it? (lol)

  • Ringo

    Even though it’s not the same, I hope that Manzano will do what Aguirre did with Camacho in 2008 versus Barcelona.
    I still don’t get how Manzano has so little faith in Koke’s abilities and if he does, it would make even less sense not to use him way more than has been the case so far.

  • Veiko

    Fulfill our dreams Atletico 🙂

    ATLETI TE AMO !!!!!

  • 7th

    me too, I think I am gonna pass watching this game as I did with barca game. lool. i went to uni like it never happened

    though i am only doing this cuz i have a mid-term exam tommorow. so i hope atletico game doesnt affect my studying mood.

    i will re-watch it when i know of the results.

    hope we WIN.

  • davie

    i recomend a craig levein tactic of a 4-6-0 formation dont attack them and they cant catch us on counter attack

  • SoLobo

    I am soooo proud of our first half… And Arda Turan… Oh my!!! Vamos Atletiiiiiii!

  • Mais

    what a first half! i wouldnt mind a purely defensive formation now either..i hope the execs are preparing to buy diego!

  • davidincali

    what da hell is j. a. r. doing smiling… pathetic

  • SoLobo

    Courtois, happy now?? Reyes, take your smile and go find Quique. Godin, what had happened to you?? Anyway, I am very proud of the rest. They really really fought.

  • k14

    what a joke La liga is, all real and barca players need to do, is roll few times on the floor and its an instant card.
    Their players pull other players by the shirt and stop a counter attack, and that for some reason doesn’t qualify for a card.
    And that underwear cunt princess actually pause while on the run for the penalty, and that is no problem, its real after all.
    Wish I knew why I care about atleti, because this spanish football has no sports pride.

  • Mais

    apparently it was a tiny step, not a stop..i dno how one is differentiated from the other but whatever…lahoz is actually the only ref in la liga i respect, he was a bit lenient on us in all honesty, filipe shud have been shown red

  • Javi Lozoya

    Perea deserves an honorific mention too, he did a great job, except his bad tackle on Ronaldo, but overall his performance was good, it’s good to have him as backup to Silvio.

  • Ringo

    Courtois has to become faster when on the ground, not entirely his fault, but perhaps it would’ve helped.

    Poor mistakes by Godin, don’t know what happened to him during that penalty foul…

    And Reyes, don’t know what he was smiling about, maybe that ridiculous fan said funny things or something, didn’t seem very intelligent, so I won’t judge him for this laughter.

    The Di Maria goal: I think Asenjo was wrong to rush out of his goal like that and someone probably missed the marking assignment of Di Maria…

    In the first half I thought Atletico played quite well, Real was clearly the more offensive side, especially after the red card, but the first half makes you wonder what they could’ve accomplished without the little mistakes with big consequenses…

    By the way, I would’ve taken out Adrian after the red card, since Salvio has more pace and with an offensive player less, I guess that would’ve been more effective.

    Last: after seeing that first half, why couldn’t they play this well in other games…?

    Hard to judge the team, two/three players weren’t terrific, but the rest were up to the fight, sadly all of them need to be.

  • Ringo

    By the way, I think the referee was pretty good.
    He was not perfect, but no referee is, especially in Spain.
    This isn’t the time to play Calimero, You could call us unlucky, but the Atleti mistakes cost the game, not the referee.
    Both red cards were deserved reds

  • SoLobo

    I agree with everything Ringo have said here