Real Madrid will debut their new pink away strip when they take on Manchester City in the second of their Champions League knockout tie on Friday night. The game is one of four Round of 16 second leg fixtures that were postponed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
City triumphed 2-1 at the Bernabeu in the first leg five months ago, and are the last English side left in the competition after the exits of defending champions Liverpool and Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham Hotspur to Atletico and RB Leipzig respectively.
The Citizens are also the last Puma outfitted team remaining in Europe’s premier club competition and should they eliminate Los Blancos, will take on another Adidas team (either Juventus or Lyon) in the last eight.
Is pink good for Real Madrid?
The last time Real Madrid had a pink away kit (officially fuchsia then) was the 2014/15 season. They went trophyless that year while arch rivals Barca picked up a treble. The pink kit got its debut in the International Champions Cup friendly against Roma (a defeat there) and was also worn in the first away game of the season against Real Sociedad, a fixture Carlo Ancelotti’s men lost 4-2- was perhaps a sign of things to come!
City strong favourites for this clash
A 2-1 win in the first leg means that City are strong favourites for this return fixture at the Etihad. Bet365 have the Citizens at 8/11 while Real are being quoted at 10/3. They have a large live streaming catalogue, but this game is unfortunately not one of them owing to rights restrictions. City generally have a good record in Europe after winning the first leg of a knockout tie, and Real will be trying to avoid going out at the Round of 16 stage for the second season in succession.
In Zinedine Zidane, Real have a manager who has never been eliminated at this stage of the competition and knows how to get things done. The French legend will be heavily dependent on Karim Benzema, who has already scored over 20 goals for Real this season in La Liga. Sergio Ramos, their next best with 11, is suspended, while no other player has more than 4.
Ramos’ absence should see Raphael Varane move to the left side of central defence, with Eder Militao coming in as his replacement. With Ferland Mendy and Marcelo both liking to move forward from left back, there’s a lot of responsibility on Varane’s shoulders- the space left by them could be exploited by Kevin de Bruyne and his team mates.
Will the pink hoodoo be broken?
There’s probably no better way to break the hoodoo than to beat City at their own home ground. Despite being the reigning Spanish champions and having the most successful manager in the modern Champions League era with them, Real are outsiders and will be keen to lay down a marker by beating Pep Guardiola’s side.
Spanish sides have had mixed success in Europe this week- Getafe went down 2-0 to Inter, but Sevilla got the better of Roma.
Brych the referee
Man City fans would’ve perhaps preferred someone other than Felix Brych to be the ref for this game. Under the German, City have lost three out of four games in Europe, including key knockout ties to Liverpool and Barcelona.