Real Madrid crush Granada to remain on title course

Varane and Pepe have recovered from hamstring and rib issues respectively and could be involved at Atletico, who trail 3-0 from last week's first leg.

Madrid hold a healthy advantage over Atletico Madrid ahead of their second leg Champions League semi-finals clash after a Ronaldo hat-trick in the first leg.

Real thrashed Granada 4-0 on Saturday despite Zinedine Zidane making nine changes from the team that beat Atletico so convincingly, while Simeone only rested one player in his side's 1-0 victory over Eibar. "I'm convinced we can, if I wasn't I wouldn't say so".

Last Tuesday saw Real Madrid produce a convincing display and Cristiano Ronaldo score a hat-trick against an Atletico side that was nearly unrecognisable to the team that is usually so hard to beat, reports Xinhua news agency.

The scorer of a sensational volley against Bayer Leverkusen to win the 2002 Champions League for Real, Zidane joined an elite group to have won the Champions League as a player and a coach when he steered Los Blancos to a penalty shoot-out victory over Atletico past year.

Atletico Madrid and Monaco will attempt to overturn daunting first-leg deficits in the Champions League semi-finals this week and publicly they insist they can pull off the improbable. "There are few games left and we know that these three points are important for us".

"If they score the tie is even more hard, but a goal in the first-half would give us a lot of strength and could make them nervous".

The match is being played at the Vicente Calderon. Given the displays of his team in recent weeks, with a much-changed line-up sweeping past relegated Granada in their last outing, you would not expect anything else.

"I would like to play every minute of every match, as everyone does, I always want to go and score goals yet I am aware there are times when this isn't possible". Whatever you have achieved in the past you need to keep proving yourself.

The visitors could not have wished for a better start as Rodriguez tapped home from close range within two minutes after being found by Lucas Vazquez who was left in acres of space on the right-hand side. "We have things in our own hands", he added.

  • Julie Sanders