Real Madrid director Emilio Butragueno has warned that his club must not consider themselves favourites when they face Roma in the Champions League round of 16.
While the Serie A side may have been humbled 6-1 by Real’s league rivals Barcelona in the group stage, that is not to be taken as an sign of weakness, according to Butragueno.
The Giallorossi drew 1-1 with Barca at the Stadio Olimpico and Butragueno expects things to be similarly tight over two legs.
“Roma are a tough side, they’ll be really up for it and they compete well,” he said on UEFA’s official website. “If we see ourselves as favourites things won’t go well for us. Roma are an Italian side and Italian teams give you nothing.”
Roma have home advantage for the first leg and their coach Rudi Garcia hopes their fans will put to one side their ongoing dispute with the club and local security authorities and ensure a great atmosphere on Feb. 17.
“For me, this is a great draw,” he told Roma Radio. “To be able to face a side like Real Madrid — one of the favourites to win the Champions League — is a good thing.
“We’re going to have to create an upset to reach the quarterfinals, but I hope the Olimpico is full to the rafters on Feb. 17. It’s important to have the fans behind you. They can give you those two or three extra points in a season and our fans deserve success.
“This is what you play in the Champions League for, to face the best. I’ve only played against Real Madrid in friendlies, but this is a different story.”
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