Real Madrid v Tottenham

Redknapp: It's what we wanted

March 18, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Harry Redknapp says that Tottenham's draw with Real Madrid is the perfect tie for the club in their first season in the Champions League.

Harry Redknapp and Jose Mourinho
GettyImagesHarry Redknapp and Jose Mourinho will clash again

• Mourinho praises Redknapp

• Ardiles joy at Real draw

Spurs travel to the Bernabeu to face the record nine-times winners of the European Cup for the first leg on Tuesday, April 5 before the home leg at White Hart Lane on Wednesday, April 13.

"You want to play in these games," beamed Redknapp after the draw. "You want to manage in these games and the fans want to go and see these games. It couldn't be better."

Real Madrid overcame their jinx against Lyon to reach the quarter-finals and have lost just twice in 24 matches in all competitions since famously losing 5-0 to their rivals Barcelona in November.

"It's a fantastic draw," added Redknapp. "What a game to look forward to against one of the greatest clubs in world football. To play Real Madrid at this stage of the Champions League is fantastic for us and we're all looking forward to it.

"It's going to be a difficult game, obviously. They are a great side. But you have to look forward to games like this. These are the great days in your life and great days in Tottenham's history. We'll go there and give it a real go. It's an exciting game. You couldn't have a more exciting or tougher game.

"I've said all along that the two Spanish clubs were, for me, the favourites to win it. We've drawn Real Madrid who are pushing Barcelona all the way for the championship with big players and a fantastic manager. In my opinion, he's one of the all-time greats.

"But we've got a chance against anyone. We feel we can play against anyone and give them a game. We're looking forward to it."

Former Real Madrid midfielder Rafael van der Vaart described it as ''a dream'' draw.

"I was happy when the draw was made," he told the club's official website. "I had hoped this would happen because it will be fantastic to go back to Madrid. I have a lot of friends there and it will be great to see them all. It's a big game, first leg away which is good for us, so I'm happy.

"For me, it's the biggest club in the world. Of course Barcelona are the best team in the world at this moment, but you can feel the history and how big the club is when you arrive at the stadium.

"The Bernabeu is fantastic. It's a great pitch, the stadium holds 90,000 and it's a fantastic feeling to play there. I played there for two years and had a great time there, so it's a dream to be going back."

Real Madrid sporting director Miguel Pardeza admitted he was wary of Tottenham after they beat Inter in the group stages and knocked out their city rivals AC Milan in the last-16.

"Tottenham are a good team, with a player we know in Van der Vaart as well as good wide players, good strikers...it´s not going to be easy,'' he told AS.

"Tottenham are not an easy opponent, but it could have been worse. They are doing well in the Premier League, they have made a big investment and although it seems they aren't an eye-catching rival and are somewhat unknown to the average fan, they will be a very difficult opponent.

"We would have liked the first game away, so we need to have a good game at home to be more comfortable for the match in England."

  • Mourinho praises Redknapp

    Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has lauded Tottenham counterpart Harry Redknapp for his success at White Hart Lane and is looking forward to congratulating his friend in person after seeing the two clubs paired together in the Champions League quarter-finals.

    ''I'm very happy to play them, not because I think it's going to be easy - because I don't think it will be - but because I get to go back to London, to an English stadium and I get to see Harry and I can congratulate him for the great job he's done,'' he said.

    The Portuguese, who won six trophies in a three-year spell in charge of Chelsea, added: ''I left England in 2007/8 and Spurs were not in the UEFA Cup, they were not even finishing in the first six of the Premier League.

    ''Martin Jol started the good work and Harry has continued it in amazing ways. I'm so happy for that. He's a friend, one of the few really good friends I made in England.

    ''What they've done is brilliant. They beat Inter, then they played the team who have won the European Cup the second highest number of times, AC Milan, and now they play Real Madrid, the champion of champions, who have won nine European Cups.

    ''It will be difficult. I know the mentality of the English teams, the way they play at home, and the character they have of playing with all their heart in every minute of every game. They have beaten Inter, knocked out Milan and are having a very good Premier League season.''

    Mourinho also preferred not to look ahead to a possible semi-final showdown with Madrid's arch-rivals Barcelona.

    ''The possibility of a Madrid-Barca semi-final is the same as a Tottenham-Shakhtar one. It's not worth talking about a semi-final when you don't know what teams are going to be there,'' he added.