Date & time: Wednesday, February 15, 7:45 PM GMT
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabeu (Madrid)
Head to head record
No past meetings
Real Madrid vs Napoli prediction
Title holders Real Madrid welcome Napoli at their Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League last 16, first leg. The Neapolitans have been in a thrilling form of late, but it remains to be seen if they are capable of upsetting the Spanish giants in Madrid.
Better results than performances
Real Madrid are on the right track to win the La Liga trophy and it is more than obvious that los Blancos are fully focused on the national championship. The team’s main goal is to put an end to Barcelona’s dominance in the Spanish top flight, but they have big ambitions for the Champions League knockout stages as well. Zinedine Zidane’s team clinched second place in Group F, two points behind Borussia Dortmund, but they have been handed an easy draw as they take on Napoli in the last 16 of the elite competition. Cristiano Ronaldo helped Real Madrid win the Champions League title last season and, no doubt, he will be the man to watch in the home team in Wednesday’s clash at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. Gareth Bale has yet to recover from his injury, but coach Zinedine Zidane has a number of top-class players to choose from and there is every chance the hosts will emerge triumphant in the first leg. You should have in mind that Real Madrid
scored nine goals at home in the group stages of the elite competition.
Gareth Bale has overcome his injury, but he is unlikely to be risked against Napoli. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Dani Carvajal are both fit, while Germany international Tony Kroos returns from a domestic ban.
Uphill task for Napoli
Napoli have been producing fine performances in the Champions League this season. Thanks to a 2-1 win over Benfica in Lisbon the Partenopei clinched top position in Group B, but they face an uphill task in the two-legged tie against Real Madrid. Maurizio Sarri’s men have been in a splendid form in the Serie A of late and it has to be noted that they scored nine goals in previous two league fixtures. Dries Mertens is enjoying a season to remember; the Belgium international has netted 16 goals in the Italian elite division so far this season, meaning that the opposition defenders should have him at bay. Over the years Napoli have turned their Stadio San Paolo into a real fortress, but they often struggle on the travels in European competitions and I do not believe that away win should be considered. Anyhow, it has to be noted that the Neapolitans are on an 18-game unbeaten run in all competitions ahead of the trip to Madrid.
Attacker Arkadiusz Milik has overcome his long-term injury, but he is likely to start from the bench. Lorenzo Tonelli, though, is definitely out of contention with injury. Coach Maurizio Sarri is likely to stick to the 4-3-3 formation.
- Over 2.5 goals were netted in each of Real Madrid’s last six games in CL
- Napoli suffered their last defeat on October 29, 2016 against Juventus
- The two teams meet for the first time ever in a competitive match
- Cristiano Ronaldo has netted only two goals in the Champions League this term
- Los Blancos failed to keep a clean sheet in six of their last seven games
Real Madrid vs Napoli betting pick
As I have already mentioned, Napoli seem to be on top of their game ahead of the Real Madrid clash, but seeing that the Serie A outfit are not regarded as good travelers, I am tempted to put my money on the reigning champions, who are determined to defend their Champions League trophy.
Pick: Real Madrid/Real Madrid