Real Madrid v Napoli play on Wednesday the first leg of the Last 16 Round of the Champions League. Los Blancos are already looking forward to one of the biggest clashes of the year. Besides, Napoli are in great form and they haven’t lost since the end of October. Therefore, it will be a very tough game for Real Madrid. Diego Maradona, former Napoli star, is travelling to Madrid to see the game. He will remind the famous game he played at Bernabéu in 1988.
This game has raised a lot of expectation in Napoli. The Italian team is not used to play these big games recently and receiving the current title holder of the Champions League is a big issue in Naples. Last time they played Champions League was in the season 2014/15 but they were kicked out of the competition in the preview against the Spanish team Athletic Club.
The last time Napoli played in the knock-out stage of the Champions League was in 2011/12, with Walter Mazzarri on the bench and Lavezzi and Cavani in the squad. The Italian side faced Chelsea and they won 3-1 at San Paolo. However, Chelsea were leading 3-1 at Stamford Bridge and they went through the next stage with a goal in the extra time scored by Ivanovic.
Therefore, their experience in the Champions League isn’t that big. We have to go back until 1988 to see another Real Madrid v Napoli. It was also in the Last 16 Round but at that time there was not a group stage. Napoli were the title holders in Italy and one of the best squads in Europe and they travelled to Madrid very confident to go through.
The game at Santiago Bernabéu was played behind closed doors and the visit of Maradona to Spain raised a lot of attention. Los Blancos won that game (2-0) with the goals of Míchel and Tendillo. However, the game was very famous for the defense Chendo did to Diego Armando Maradona. The Argentinian star didn’t do anything extraordinary in that game thanks to Chendo, who even humiliated Maradona with an amazing dribble putting the ball between the legs.
In the second leg, Real Madrid suffered in Napoli because the Italian team took the lead very early. However, Emilio Butragueño scored a goal to draw the game and Los Blancos finally (1-1) went through the next stage.
Can we expect a similar result this week?