Real Madrid travel to Italy tomorrow night to face Atalanta in their last 16 Champions League games. Los Blancos beat their group in the previous phase of the competition, finishing two points from Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk and four points from Inter.
Madrid’s form has improved after a shaky start to the season. They have won four in a row in La Liga and are now sitting on the shoulder of league leader Atletico Madrid, just three points behind.
Atalanta is fifth in Serie A, ten points behind leader Inter. They went through the Champions League group, including Liverpool, Ajax and Midtjylland, finishing two points behind Liverpool, four from Ajax and nine from Midtjylland.
Madrid, however, enters the match with a series of injuries. There will be no key people, including Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard and their inspirational captain Sergio Ramos, to name just a few. A total of nine senior players are short.
“I’m not the right person to answer this,” Toni Kroos said when asked about a series of injuries in Madrid in comments Marca played before the game. “I have almost never been injured and I do not know what the injured players are doing. I don’t know what they do at home, how they do rehabilitation. I am not in their bodies. I know what I’m doing, but I don’t know what’s going on with them. It bothers us that we have so many injuries, of course. “
Kroos was elusive when asked if he would like Madrid to sign Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haland this coming summer. “They’re both very good and can help any team,” he said. “The problem is that tomorrow will not help me, I am focused on my game. That is not my topic, but a question for Florentino [Perez]. ”
The Germain midfielder was clear on what he and his teammates needed to do on Wednesday night. Win. “It’s finally for us,” he said. “We know it’s a tough game and not just because of our injuries. They are strong rivals and know how to play. We have to control the game and dominate the ball. We have to do something offensive, but also defend ourselves well. “