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Mourinho faces former players in Champions League

April 2, 2013

MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho will be up against some familiar opponents when his team faces Galatasaray on Wednesday in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.

Mourinho coached Didier Drogba at Chelsea before moving to Inter Milan, where he won a Champions League title in 2010 with Wesley Sneijder on his team.

Both Drogba and Sneijder have since moved to Turkey, and will be headed to the Santiago Bernabeu looking to spring a surprise on nine-time champion Madrid.

“We’ve come to win,” said Sneijder, who also played for Real Madrid. “There is respect, but not fear.”

Madrid will be heading into the match on a high after eliminating Manchester United in the previous round and Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semifinals. They also beat Spanish leader Barcelona in the league.

The fans want more.

“Here in Madrid everyone wants the 10th (Champions League title) and that’s the club’s objective,” Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo said. “We, the players, know the importance of winning the Champions League.”

Against Galatasaray, Ronaldo said the team’s defense will need to be sharp to control forward Burak Yilmaz.

“The truth is that he is a player who is doing well in the Champions League, given that scoring eight goals is very difficult,” said Ronaldo, who has also scored eight Champions League goals this season.

“We know Galatasaray is a team that attacks a lot and that’s good for us, because when a team plays on such one-on-one terms against us, we have more chances of winning. It’s going to be a very open and finely balanced game.”

For Galatasaray, the chance to face Madrid in the Champions League is more than just a game.

“We have come to give our best,” Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim said. “This is a historic event for us.”

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