UEFA Champions League: 10 Reasons It's Too Early to Write Off Real Madrid

James WillisAnalyst IFebruary 21, 2011

UEFA Champions League: 10 Reasons It's Too Early to Write Off Real Madrid

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    Real Madrid are one of the strongest teams in Europe at the moment, but are living in the shadow of their fiercest rivals Barcelona, who many consider to be the best club side the world has ever seen.

    With Jose Mourinho at the helm of this team, it is hard to count this Real Madrid side out from any competition at the moment, despite them sitting five points behind Barcelona in the Primera Division at the moment.

    Especially with their current squad, the club should not be written off to add another trophy to their record nine titles in the competition. Here are 10 reasons why.

Jose Mourinho

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    The self-proclaimed "Special One" has a fantastic record in Europe with his past and current clubs, making him one of the best choices to be manager at Real Madrid.

    Despite the rumored falling out between him and the club's president, he has guided the club to a position just five points behind a Barcelona squad that some regard as one of the all-time greats.

    He has already won the Champions League twice, two trebles, and gone unbeaten at home for nine years at the tender managerial age of 48.

    Despite his ego, that should be enough to make him arguably the greatest manager in the world at the moment.

Record Nine Titles

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    Real Madrid currently hold the record for most Champions League titles in the history of the competition, having won it nine times.

    Although the most recent was 2002, the club clearly have the ability to perform at that level again now.

    Some of the squad from 2002 are still around in the current squad, including World Cup-winning goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

    This past experience combined with the rich history of the club can always act as the psychological boost the players may be looking for.

German Midfield

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    "Efficient" would arguably be the best word to describe the style of German footballers. However, the two players pictured (Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil) are far more than just efficient.

    The pair played a key role in Germany's run to the semifinals of the World Cup last summer before being knocked out by a Spanish midfield dominated by Barcelona players.

    The German pair have so much experience together on an international level and were one of the most important parts in Germany's counter-attacking style of play in South Africa. They were the key link from defence to attack.

    At Real Madrid, they are joined by superstars Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Xabi Alonso and Angel Di Maria all in midfield—one that any club in the world should fear.

Santiago Benabeu

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    Having already mentioned Jose Mourinho's unbelievable home record, there's no better place to hold that record than at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    The stadium has a giant capacity of just over 80,000 with the steep sides and blocked in corners, and that makes for an intimidating place for any club to play.

    The stadium also plays host to International matches as proof of its high quality.

    If Real Madrid want to win the Champions League, then they will need to use the stadium to their advantage and create a very intimidating place for opponents to play while remaining sporting.

Rebuilding The Galactico's

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    With the return of President Florentino Pérez recently, fans were hoping for a return of the Galacticos Era as well.

    Pérez has managed to bring that back to a certain extent, making mammoth signings in Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka.  But, until the club win the Champions League, it will be difficult to compare them to the old Galacticos.

    Despite this, the team have the ability to become legends in their own right regardless of whether or not they get compared to the Galacticos Era.

Iker Casillas

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    In Iker Casillas, Real Madrid have arguably the best goalkeeper in the world protecting the back of their net.

    Having already won a Champions League medal and a World Cup medal, Casillas is the most experienced goalkeeper in the club's history and also one of the most successful.

    At just 29, the goalkeeper still has a good while left in him, and the team could benefit from the mixture of his experience and peak age.

    There isn't a team in the world that would turn down Iker Casillas, and, for that reason, he will play a very key role in deciding whether Real Madrid can win the Champions League or not.

Offensive Capability

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    If you take a direct quote from the club legend Carlos Santillana, he said, "no one has the offensive capability of Real Madrid or Barcelona."

    In the same interview he later added, "We must know that this team has cost a lot of money and is formed by many of the best players in the world, especially since the arrival of Florentino Perez."

    The club have one of the best attacking forces in the whole of Europe and will be able to score goals against any club side.

    Despite Tottenham Hotspur being the top scorers still left in the competition, Real Madrid have the quality to be the snatch that honor away coming out of the competition—if they play to their potential.

Cristiano Ronaldo

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    Cristiano Ronaldo is still very much at the age where he can be at the top of his game. His performances can still be absolutely spectacular when on top form, and that will be key for Real Madrid for the rest of the season.

    While at Manchester United he was accused of going missing in the big games, but at Madrid he definitely has the ability to get into top gear whenever he can.

    He is also managed by someone who also has a large ego in Jose Mourinho. The experienced coach will be important to Ronaldo if he is to find his very best form again, and what better time to find it than at the run-in towards the end of a big season for one of the biggest clubs in the world?

Won The Group Of Death

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    Real Madrid were drawn alongside AC Milan, Ajax and Auxerre. This was largely seen as the "Group of Death" with the teams having won the Champions League (or previously European Championship) 20 times between them.

    While Real Madrid have nine titles, AC Milan have seven and Ajax have won four. Despite the fact that Auxerre have not won any European titles, they also came into the group high on confidence from their last league campaign.

    Real Madrid managed to top this Champions League group, rarely slipping up along the way, and pushed AC Milan into the runner-up spot.

    If they can get through a group like that in such fine form, there is no reason the club can't make their way through the rest of the competition with equal confidence and style.

Young Players

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    Real Madrid have some great young players in their side that could well be the players to lead the club to their next Champions League win.

    Whether or not that comes this season, they will at least gain some valuable experience of playing together in the tournament.

    With players such as Gonzalo Higuain (23), Angel Di Maria (23), Mesut Ozil (22), and Sergio Canales (20) at Madrid, the club definitely look set to be contenders in the tournament for a long time. In fact, even Cristiano Ronaldo (26) should have a good few years left at the top of his game before his form begins to drop.