Real Madrid were in good heart after earning a 2-1 win over Albacete at the weekend, but were not overconfident yesterday as they left for Monaco for their Champions' League quarter-final second leg. The Spanish side hold a 4-2 lead from the first leg.
David Beckham, the England captain, has reportedly been given compassionate leave by the club to spend time with his family following tabloid newspaper allegations but is banned from playing tonight anyway after picking up a yellow card in the previous round.
The Real coach, Carlos Queiroz, said the team would be studying a video of Monaco's 8-3 victory over Deportivo La Coruña to understand how such a team can make life difficult. He said he wants his side to be alive to the fact that Monaco scored four goals in half an hour against Deportivo.
"We'll go to Monaco to win. Then I prefer to face Chelsea," said Roberto Carlos, who scored both Madrid's goals with deflected free-kicks in Saturday's game. "I'm in better shape than ever," he added.
Roberto Carlos will return to the team after serving his two-game suspension for hitting the Bayern Munich midfielder Martin Demichelis in the second-round first leg.
"We hope to play on Tuesday as well as we played against Albacete in the first half," Zinedine Zidane said. "The important thing is we got three points and we're now thinking of Monaco."
Apart from the absence of Beckham, Real have fitness worries over the defender Ivan Helguera, who scored in the first leg. The versatile Argentinian midfielder Santiago Solari or the former youth team player Borja will take Beckham's place.
Fernando Morientes, the Monaco striker who is on loan from Madrid this season and scored in the first leg, said: "If the two teams play at 100 per cent, Real Madrid will win. We have to play above 100 per cent to get through."
Monaco, who lead Ligue 1 by a point from Lyon, have been deprived of their midfield steel with the Argentinian Lucas Bernardi suspended and Andreas Zikos of Greece injured. The centre-back Sebastien Squillaci, who has been outstanding this season, has been ruled out with a leg injury.
Didier Deschamps, Monaco's coach, can at least welcome back the left-back Patrice Evra from injury, while the return to fitness of the striker Shabani Nonda is another boost. Nonda returned from a seven-month lay-off to score one goal and set up another in Monaco's 3-3 draw against Ajaccio on Friday.
Rumours about the state of Beckham's marriage have abounded since he moved to Real Madrid last summer from Manchester United. Beckham and his then personal assistant, the daughter of a Dutch diplomat, were photographed together in a Madrid nightclub last September. The Beckhams released a statement at the time denying any marital problems.Reuse content