Marca fired a series of salvos at Man Utd especially targeting Wayne Rooney to get inside his head. A "freckled hooligan", in spirit not far removed from the beer fueled traveling Utd fans, but on the pitch, arguably the world's most dangerous player all embodied in a tree stump like neck. That neck glows red when angry and it could light up seeing Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, and Pepe, all players who he's tussled with in the past and added to the ever increasing annual rings on that aforesaid tree stump like neck.
Disclaimer: The neck as tree stump reference is all Soccerblog's, not the Spanish media. But you get my drift.
Real Madrid themselves might need help from their subservient media. Jose Mourinho has had his share of problems with players like Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos, willing proxies for the Mardrid media, especially Marca in their feud with the abrasive coach. The side are now amongst the also rans in La Liga, below cross town rivals, Atletico. Beyond Cristiano Ronaldo, they lack a consistent goalscorer with Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain below par. A Bernabeu failure could see a full throated cry for Mourinho's removal. The strain is obviously telling because, well have you ever seen him look like this. On the other hand, Sir Alex looked calm and confident with his place in Utd history cemented.
The old CR7 used to try too hard and that might be the case against Utd, looking to impress his old boss. A frustrated CR7 is not good news for the Madrid club and if that look of petulance wears on then he could take himself out of the game. Both sides are excellent on the counterattack with Madrid having the edge. But Utd for all the accolades given to RVP for his goalscoring exploits have a better balanced attack. Crucial goals from midfield as well as from the back four have bolstered their season admirably. For all of their 0-60 acceleration, Real actually might test David De Gea more with set pieces. The former Atletico goalie comes in with an uneven reputation dealing uncomfortably with crosses and corners.
Utd will probably have to weather a fast start by the Merengues before seeing more of the ball and then settling into a series of sharp counterattacking exchanges. Look for an open ended, fluid match. It could come down to a set piece and a defender like Rafael Varane or Nemanja Vidic to provide the match's biggest most significant moment. Or in plural.
Prediction: Real Madrid 2 Man Utd 2