Tonight's blockbuster Champions League clash at Santiago Beranbeu pits together two titans with a combined of 16 European Cups between them. This will be their second consecutive meeting in two years, where Milan emerged victorious, despite being almost completely out of it at one point.
Things have changed on both sides of the Spanish-Italian divide, with there being considerable improvement and investment for both teams. Real Madrid, as per usual, have added a whole new array of galactic talent, admitting an increasingly younger and considerably talented, World Cup stars into their team and, also, adding the two-time Champions League winning coach, Jose Mourinho, to complete a Galactic summer for the team.
A.C. Milan have also added the considerable attacking talent and flair of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho to their squad, while also rediscovering the un-concealable prowess of the once-world's best passer, Andrea Pirlo into their attacking arsenal. They have, however, failed to make up for their defensive frailities from last term, which saw them go out to Manchester United in last year's Round of 16, and conceding a total of 7 goals against a team which had never scored against them and won in history.
Both A.C. Milan and Real Madrid had convicing victories at the weekend preceeding the midweek clash. Real Madrid had won 4-1 away to Malaga, after having convincingly thrashed Deportivo La Coruna by 6-1 at home the previous week. Cristiano Ronaldo had starred in the weekend clash, providing 2 goals and 2 assists, while Mesut Ozil had also contributed to the resounding win with two assists, including winning the penalty which led to the first goal of the game. Gonzalo Higuain had also scored at the weekend, with a brace to bring his total for the season to 4 goals after 7 rounds of matches.
A.C.Milan had also won convincingly at home, against Cheivo Verona, overtaking them in the Serie A standings. With goals coming from Alexander Pato (2) and Robinho (after coming on as a substitute). Milan are still having trouble defensively, having conceded 5 goals (3 on the road), which included an own goal from Ibrahimovic, this weekend.
More worryingly for Milan, Ambrosini is injured for the European clash, with only Genarro Gattuso as backup in the defensive midfield position, due to Mathieu Flamini still not having proved himself at the top level in Italy. In the case of the Madrid based club, they will be missing their influential right-back Sergio Ramos, who has been part of the attacking cog at the club for years.
The outcome of this match may not be all important, but will shape up the rest of the participant's European campaigns, especially if Ajax were to win agaainst Auxerre.