Greetings from the land of sand. This is the weekly segment here on Managing Madrid where I walk around my international campus and ask random people of different backgrounds and football loyalties questions about the footballing world and Real Madrid.
Yes, yes I know. It's too early to talk about the Champions League. But, there's nothing wrong with thinking about it.
As you know, Real Madrid tied 1-1 with CSKA Moscow in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 series with the Russian side. It could be argued that the frigid weather hampered los blancos performance, but excuses won't help us win the title.
Real Madrid has a history of stumbling in the Last 16 round of the competition, though we broke our curse against Lyon last year. The team advanced to the semi-finals last year, but madridistas are nevertheless anxious about our chances.
The good news is that Madrid will be playing on their home turf with the support of their home fans, and Mourinho, a coach with ample Champions League experience, will make sure the team is well prepared.
Still, the side is suffering from multiple injuries, especially on offense. Even if these injured players recuperate, they will need some time to regain their form. Also, as shown in Sunday's league match against Rayo, Madrid are having trouble with set pieces and corner-kicks, plays we will definitely see in the Champions League. After all, it is the Champions League.
Real Madrid are definite favorites to move on, but they were also favorites two years ago, and let's not relive that.
So my admittedly premature question this week: Can Real Madrid recover enough momentum to bounce back from their 1-1 draw with CSKA Moscow and qualify for the next round of the Champions League in a few weeks time?
"Madrid? Lose? They never lose, except against Barca."
-Raghid, Lebanon, Chelsea
"To be honest, Real have a great chance of qualifying as they are the tournaments biggest champions and home is where they shine the most. However, with the Lleague games and Champions League games, Real's performances will decline but they are still going to win."
-Saker, Palestine, Barcelona
"I don't even think that the CSKA players think that CSKA will go through."
-Samuel, India, Liverpool
"I think it will be a much more easier game than the away game. Definitely a better condition for the Real Madrid players. Expecting a 2-0 victory."
-Chan, South Korea, Real Madrid
"I think they will win at home, but it won't be easy."
-Phillip, Lebanon, AC Milan
You can find out who's right when Real Madrid take on CSKA Moscow next month (March 14) at 20:24 CET. There's some time to wait, but keep the competition in the back of your mind as Madrid continue to play in the league. Hala Madrid!