A special type of feeling comes to the mind of football lovers when the prospect of two European heavyweights prepare to lock horns in arguably the most prestigious club competition that the world game has to offer.
Real Madrid and Manchester United are certainly two of the most followed clubs across the entire globe, and the draw of the Champions League last-16 could not have been any nicer to the fans that were looking forward to the champagne occasion in the tournament.
As associations go with the statures of the two clubs, the managerial world could not have offered a better spectacle than the Jose Mourinho versus Sir Alex Ferguson match-up. The two tacticians are no doubt the best that the game has ever seen.
With masterminds behind the army, the occasion was sure to lighten up and so it happened in Madrid, the final score-line flashing across the Bernabeu read 1-1; a numerical analysis that only poises the tie perfectly for the return leg at Old Trafford tomorrow evening.
Los Blancos travel to Manchester United in fine form after their masterful display at Camp Nou to knock Barcelona out of the Copa del Rey; a performance they followed up four days later with another El Clasico victory, a result that leaves their confidence sky-high.
And, according to former Real Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano, Tuesday's clash couldn't come at a better time for Mourinho's men.
"After the match at Camp Nou, Real Madrid are brimming with confidence ahead of the biggest game of the year, which comes at Old Trafford against Manchester United," the ex-Argentine international told Cadena Ser.
"Nothing matters more than winning the Champions League, the club's 10th European Cup. The match at Old Trafford will be much more tactical than the Barcelona game.
"Against Real Madrid, the home fans will be understanding if [Sir Alex] Ferguson decides to set up his team to play conservatively, and I think that will be the case."
The second leg is perfectly set up to enlighten the occasion as Manchester United hold the slender away goal advantage, after scoring at the Santiago Bernabeu, which could prove to be decisive over the two-legged encounter.
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