Tottenham travel to the Santiago Bernabeu for their Champions League game against Real Madrid on Tuesday night.
Both teams are currently level on points in Group H as they head into what promises to be an entertaining clash.
Here we take a look at some of the talking points ahead of the game.
Real Madrid’s unexpected and frustrating failure to land the services of Kylian Mbappe this summer leaves the Spanish giants one man light in the striker department, and although Karim Benzema recently signed a new contract until 2021 it appears almost certain Los Blancos will make sure they sign an established centre-forward at the end of this season.
Considering his consistently outstanding goalscoring exploits over the last few years, Tottenham star Harry Kane will undoubtedly feature in the discussions held between Bernabeu president Florentino Perez, coach Zinedine Zidane and other major decision makers.
Kane’s record of 105 goals from his last 149 Premier League games is too good to be ignored, and at the age of 24 he is at the perfect stage of his career to make the step up to an elite club, while his international marketing appeal would also count in his favour.
If the England star has any interest in attracting Madrid’s attention, as surely any player in his position would, we can expect to see him super motivated to impress on Tuesday night as he appears at the Bernabeu for the first time – but perhaps not the last.
After making excellent progress under Mauricio Pochettino in the last couple of years, many observers have become convinced that the North London club have become a serious candidate to claim a major honour for the first time since (with respect to the FA Cup and UEFA Cup) their English title triumph in 1961.
And now, in the hothouse atmosphere of the Bernabeu, where so many reputations have been both made and broken, Spurs have the chance to prove they truly deserve to be regarded as one of Europe’s elite teams.
It will be fascinating to see Tottenham’s collective body language and tactical bravery: do they really trust in their own ability to visit a place like the Bernabeu and attempt to win? Or do they regard themselves as an inferior force who would be lucky to come away with a point?
Such questions are being asked by an ever-smaller number of outsiders as the team’s reputation grows, and this game gives Pochettino’s players the power to state the answer loud and clear.
After starting the group with two victories, Madrid are in a perfect position at the head of the group and could even afford to share the spoils with Spurs this week.
In those circumstances, boss Zidane may opt to rest more players than would usually be expected for a game of this stature, especially considering the gruelling nature of his team’s weekend victory at Getafe.
Cristiano Ronaldo, in particular, could well be given the night off after having to play the full 90 minutes at Getafe – where he scored the late winner – immediately following his physically tiring and mentally exhausting World Cup qualifying exertions with Portugal.
Even though Gareth Bale is still out injured, the return to fitness Karim Benzema, the versatility of Isco and Marco Asensio, and the promising form of rising youngster Borja Mayoral all serve to give Zidane plenty of options if he does believe Ronaldo would benefit from a break, and it would be no surprise to see Spurs face an opposition front line lacking their most famous face.
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