Jose Mourinho must be smiling as his way to winning the third Champions League trophy just got easier.
Real Madrid, who are on course to their first La Liga title in four years, have been handed the easiest of the fixtures in the quarterfinal stage as they take on newbies APOEL Nicosia. The Cypriot club are on a dream run becoming the first club from their nation to make it this far in the competition.
Though they have been brilliant so far, the prospect of overcoming an in-form Real Madrid seems a highly impossible task, and the Bernabeau giants will be looking to end their misery of 28 quarterfinal exits.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
A list featuring players to watch and without the Portuguese wizard is incomplete. The former Manchester United man has been on a roll this season. With already 42 goals scored in all competitions, Ronaldo looks set to break his personal goal-scoring record from last season.
He has scored six times for the Los Blancos in an equal number of appearances in the Champions League. In Real's last fixture against CSKA Moscow, he scored twice to send the Russians out of the competition. Against APOEL, a weaker side than CSKA, Ronaldo will be looking to add to his European tally.
Paulo Jorge (APOEL)
The 31-year-old centre-back has been a vital reason for APOEL's high-flying season so far. The Cypriot club has played in a method similar to what Greece played in Euro 2004. They have been solid at the back making it difficult for their opponents to score goals.
For a club with an annual transfer budget of $13.2 million, conceding a mere five goals playing against opponents of the likes of FC Porto, Lyon proves a job well done. Jorge has been the spine of the APOEL defense, and he did so again coming off from an injury to help his team overcome French giants Lyon.
If APOEL are to carry on their fairytale further, they need Jorge to deliver a performance similar to the one against Lyon if not better.
Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid)
The German has been on fire this season developing as a key player in Jose Mourinho's Galacticos. Ozil has scored three goals and provided 20 assists which speaks gallons about his vital role in Real Madrid's attack. He has been the vital man feeding Cristiano Ronaldo with defense splitting passes and creating goalscoring chances.
When Real take on APOEL, they shall know too well about the Cypriot club's defensive solidarity, and that is where Ozil's ability shall come in handy. Mourinho will need his in-form midfielder to deliver if Real are to make it to the semifinals after six long seasons.
The 27-year-old Brazilian has played one of the most vital roles in helping his club come so far. While his four goals helped the club secure qualification from the playoffs, his three goals during the competition ensured his club continued the dream run.
If APOEL are to plot the continuity of their fairytale run, then Ailton needs to deliver like he did against FC Porto or Zenit St.Petersburg in the group stages.
Dionisis Chiotis (APOEL)
APOEL owe most of their credit for the win against Lyon to their fantastic goalie Chiotis. The 34-year-old Greek keeper has been one of the most impressive players so far. He has been one of the reasons for APOEL's impressive defensive records in the competition. He has helped bring stability to his team's defense with his brilliant saves and a good command inside the box.
Against Lyon, he made two saves to propel his club into the history books. Against a team of Real Madrid's stature, he shall need to deliver best performance so far if APOEL are to have any chances of qualifying for the semifinals.