Champions League: Spurs out to erase Bernabeu nightmare of 2011
There is a real sense of optimism surrounding Tottenham Hotspur this season, however they face their toughest battle yet when they return to Champions League action to take on Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. Madrid are the reigning champions and Spurs face the daunting task of stopping the twelve time champions in their tracks. Tottenham ticket holders will be hoping that their trip to the Spanish capital is better than their last.
Rewind six years and it was a night to forget at the Bernabeu for Tottenham as they were defeated 4-0 and dumped out of the competition at the Quarter-Final stage. Madrid beat Tottenham 5-0 on aggregate in the Champions League in 2011 as Los Blancos brushed Tottenham aside in a first-leg domolition job. Pochettino is confident history will not repeat itself this time round.
On that fateful night, only fourteen minutes had passed when Peter Crouch, already on a yellow card, flew in late on Marcelo in 2011. If Spurs didn’t have a monumental task on their hands it had all of a sudden become mission impossible as they were reduced to ten men against arguable the best in the world. In 2011 Gareth Bale and Luka Modric were in the white of Tottenham Hotspur, however they will be donning the white of Real Madrid hoping to secure a vital three points on their journey towards defending their UEFA Champions League crown for a third successive season.
Spurs were riding on the crest of a wave under Harry Redknapp and Mauricio Pochettino finds himself in a similar situation six years later with the likes of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen in blistering form, plus the creativity and guile of Dele Alli proving to be a lethal combination. Spurs legend Rafael Van Der Vaart was part of the starting XI six years ago and reflected on that night. He feel Tottenham are in a much stronger position to compete this time and is confident that they will get a result in Spain. Tottenham had had taken the tournament by storm, inspired by the power of Gareth Bale and craft of Luka Modric. Bale demolished Inter Milan in the groups before Crouch's winner knocked out AC Milan in the last 16.
Van Der Vaart said: 'We had four or five stand-out players you come to the stadium to watch (In 2011) but now with Tottenham you come for the whole team,”
“They need to use that against Madrid because this is the biggest difference now and also their biggest strength. They are a fantastic team.”
Now Harry Kane is being talked about as one capable of following in Bale and Modric footsteps in leaving Tottenham for Madrid. Many see Kane as Cristiano Ronaldo’s successor. Could he be in line to be the next Galactico?
'The thing is nobody says no to Real Madrid,' Van der Vaart said.
“But when I see Harry Kane now at Tottenham, the club also want to be bigger and bigger, winning the league, the Champions League, with a new stadium. There is so much to play for. I hope he will stay. Real Madrid of course is something special but Spurs are special to him too.”
Real Madrid boss, Zinedine Zidane described Kane as the ‘complete player’ ahead of their Champions League tie against Tottenham on Tuesday. After the opening two group games, Kane leads the scoring charts in Europe's elite competition with five goals and Zidane has been impressed by the 24-year-old's keen eye for goal.
Zidane said: "He is a fundamental player for Tottenham, he is very good in every aspect, but the best thing about him is that he's always got the goal on his mind," "He's a very complete player even though he does not look it, but he always turns up when he needs to."
Spurs ticket holders will be hoping Kane can continue his rich vein of form and silence the Santiago Bernabeu as he looks to carry Tottenham one huge step closer to qualification into the knockout stages. Buy Tottenham tickets today to watch them on their European journey this season with Football Ticket Pad. Great deals in place for all home and away matches with a unique 100% money-back guarantee.