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Champions League rolling blog: 13 April

UEFA.com has reaction from José Mourinho, Gareth Bale and Christoph Metzelder after Real Madrid CF and FC Schalke 04 set up semi-finals with FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC.
 
 
Published: Wednesday 13 April 2011, 23.59CET

Champions League rolling blog: 13 April

UEFA.com has reaction from José Mourinho, Gareth Bale and Christoph Metzelder after Real Madrid CF and FC Schalke 04 set up semi-finals with FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC.

In Wednesday's UEFA Champions League quarter-final deciders, Cristiano Ronaldo scored the only goal as Real Madrid CF defeated Tottenham Hotspur FC 1-0 on the night and 5-0 overall, while FC Schalke 04 eliminated holders FC Internazionale Milano 7-3 on aggregate after a 2-1 second-leg win.

UEFA.com brings you the reaction from London and Gelsenkirchen (all times CET).

Wednesday 23.59, London
The blog has now closed. Video highlights of tonight's matches are available here.

Wednesday 23.46, Gelsenkirchen
After a vintage individual performance that led his side into the last four, Raúl González explained the philosophy that held Schalke in such good stead against the European champions. "Despite winning the first leg by a big margin we in no way went into this game thinking about sitting back and losing by 2-0 or whatever," the all-time leading scorer in the UEFA Champions League said.

"We have won all of our Champions League games here at our stadium and we wanted to continue that run," he continued before switching focus to the next hurdle. "Looking ahead to the next game we are full of hope about facing Manchester United. They have good players and a great coach but you never know what can happen in football."

Wednesday 23.39, Gelsenkirchen
Leonardo was proud of Inter's efforts following their loss to Schalke. "I want to underline that my players have given a lot over the past few months, in at times difficult situations," said the Nerazzurri coach. "We arrived at the decisive stage of the season with a few problems and that's a pity.

"The main difference between the two teams was maybe that they took their chances while we did not. But there were many little things not working well for us – you never lose because of just one mistake."

Wednesday 23.38, London
Madrid's match-winner Cristiano Ronaldo reflected on a satisfactory evening's work at White Hart Lane. "It was a good win tonight and means we have taken a very important step forward," said the Portugal forward. "Our ambition at the start of the campaign was obviously to go very far in this tournament. We are close to the final now but we are facing a very difficult rival next."

On meeting Barcelona he added: "They are a great team but they are not from another planet; they are human just like us. They play good football, sure, but so do we. We are feeling good both physically and mentally. I hope that we are going to come out on top in these encounters against them."

Wednesday 23.20, London
Tottenham defender Williams Gallas said the first leg cost his side against a Madrid team he is tipping to oust Barcelona in the last four. "It was tricky being four goals behind. We wanted to get a good result for the fans. It was not the case, unfortunately, but we lost to a steady Real side who were unbreakable," said Gallas, who played under José Mourinho at Chelsea FC. "Against Barça? They will do well. Believe me, Mourinho will do everything to win the trophy. My money is on Real. He did it for Inter, and he will do it again with Real."

Wednesday 23.15, Gelsenkirchen
Christoph Metzelder is full of pride at Schalke's achievement, saying: "It's a historic day for the club and us as a team. Only Raúl has reached the semi-finals before; for the rest it's a new experience. We can be very proud. We tried to win this match, not just defend our lead from the first leg."

The defender singled out team-mate Raúl González, scorer of Schalke's first goal and creator of the second, for particular praise, adding: "He hasn't finished his first season yet but he's an icon in this area, not only because of his goals but also because of the way he works and fights. We're proud to have him."

Next up for Schalke are United in the semi-finals, Metzelder saying: "It will be two very tough matches. You saw tonight that we're very strong at home and also well organised. We also look for chances to score and we have Raúl – he's Mr Champions League."

Wednesday 23.04, London
Xabi Alonso said Madrid would give it their all to return to London for next month's Wembley showpiece following their comprehensive aggregate triumph over Tottenham. "We're very happy but we can't say we are ultimately satisfied because we now want to go on and progress to the final," explained the former Liverpool FC midfielder.

"We obviously know Barcelona very well and we'll be going for it in the semis. The last result [5-0 to Barça] came a long time ago and we're at a different stage of the season fighting for various titles so let's see how things work out."

Wednesday 23.00, London
José Mourinho was reluctant to comment on Madrid's semi-final with his team due to play Barcelona in two different competitions before the first leg on 27 April. "Let's see what happens, we have ambition," said the two-time UEFA Champions League winning coach. "A semi-final is a semi-final − anything can happen. We have two matches against them before the semi-final [in the Liga and Copa del Rey final] and it's not time to think about the semi-final now."

Wednesday 22.48, London
Gareth Bale looked back with pride on Tottenham's maiden UEFA Champions League campaign after they exited the competition. "We knew before the game it would be difficult challenge, but we've had a great run in the Champions League and we're really proud of it," he told ITV following defeat by Madrid.

"We lost to a better team and we're disappointed to go out. It's been fantastic, not just for me but for everybody. Nobody expected us to get this far in the Champions League."

Wednesday 22.35, London: Tonight's final scores
Tottenham Hotspur FC 0–1 Real Madrid CF (agg: 0-5)
FC Schalke 04 2-1 FC Internazionale Milano (agg: 7-3)

Semi-final dates
Tuesday 26 April
Schalke v Manchester United FC

Wednesday 27 April
Madrid v FC Barcelona

Tuesday 3 May
Barcelona v Madrid

Wednesday 4 May
United v Schalke

Wednesday 20.45, Noah Broad at White Hart Lane
Gonzalo Higuaín, who started Saturday's 3-0 victory at Athletic Club, is on the bench for Madrid. In his place comes former Arsenal player Emmanuel Adebayor, a two-goal scorer in the first leg, who assumes the lone striker's role. Madrid's No28 can certainly expect a warm welcome from the Tottenham faithful.

Wednesday 20.25, Simon Hart at White Hart Lane
The teams are warming up on the pitch as highlights of Spurs' win at AC Milan play on the big screens. Tottenham have enjoyed a memorable run on their first appearance in the UEFA Champions League but if it ends tonight they will hope to go out on a high.

White Hart Lane is only slowly filling up but the Park Lane End is already noticeable for the profusion of red and yellow Spanish flags displayed by the estimated 1,800 Madrid supporters.

Wednesday 19.55, London
The lineups for tonight's fixtures are now available. They can be found in the UEFA.com MatchCentre, where you can follow all of the action from London and Gelsenkirchen. The blog will not be updated during the games but be sure to return at full time for immediate post-match reaction.

Wednesday 19.33, Simon Hart at White Hart Lane
Harry Redknapp says in his programme notes he is hoping to give Spurs' supporters a night to remember for years to come but admits an early goal will be crucial. "We would love to be in a better position in the tie but the mood is great and we will give it a real go, try to win the game and see where that takes us. We need to get an early goal if we can.

"Nothing is impossible," adds the Tottenham manager, who cites the victories his team have already achieved against Inter and AC Milan en route to the last eight, adding: "Let's hope we can do the same tonight." There has been a wonderful atmosphere at White Hart Lane on European nights this term but the roof really would come off the place were Spurs to do what, on paper, looks virtually impossible despite Redknapp's words.

Wednesday 19.24, Richard Aikman at the Arena AufSchalke
The immensely impressive Arena AufSchalke has just opened its gates to the supporters and very impressive it is too. The decision to keep the roof open looks to have paid off as, in the press seating area here up in the Gods, it is breezy but, crucially, not wet. At least, not yet.

The Schalke fans here are in no rush to take their seats, most of them working their way towards the onsite bars and restaurants or the club shop, where an orderly queue for Raúl González T-shirts is already 20-deep. The atmosphere here is relaxed, the locals confident that the hard work of this tie has already been done. "We are not worried," says Harry from neighbouring Herne. "We are going to enjoy a beer, and then another five goals." Harry had better hope Inter don't score them.

Wednesday 17.23, London
Lionel Messi's winner in Donetsk last night has put the Barcelona man on top of this season's UEFA Champions League goalscoring charts. He now has nine, one clear of Samuel Eto'o – who can respond in tonight's game in Gelsenkirchen – and Mario Gomez, whose FC Bayern München side were knocked out in the last round. View all the 2010/11 UEFA Champions League statistics.

Wednesday 16.00, Mark Pettit at White Hart Lane
Preparing the pitch for a UEFA Champions League game is an almost military-style operation. Earlier this afternoon, three ground staff with lawnmowers worked in tandem to trim the surface in front of the north stand while the lines were being marked out at the other end of the field. There's a chilly breeze swirling around White Hart Lane as well this afternoon and Tottenham will be hoping to catch Madrid cold later on if they are to have any chance of overturning their 4-0 deficit in the tie.

Wednesday 15.00, London
Manchester United's 2-1 triumph over Chelsea yesterday propelled them to the top of this season's UEFA club coefficient rankings. United displaced previous leaders Real Madrid, who dropped to third behind Barcelona. José Mourinho's side must now defeat Tottenham in tonight's quarter-final second leg at White Hart Lane to reclaim pole position.

In the overall five-year rankings that will determine seeding next season, United have a commanding lead over Barcelona, with Chelsea, FC Bayern München, Liverpool FC, Arsenal FC, Inter, Madrid, AC Milan and Sevilla FC making up the top ten – though FC Porto's UEFA Europa League form could yet boost their status.

Wednesday 13.58, Richard Aikman in Gelsenkirchen
Perhaps understandably, Gelsenkirchen has not exactly been inundated with Inter supporters, even though there are Serie A clubs further away from the German city than Milan is. Nonetheless, 2,500 hardy Nerazzurri fans are expected to complete the 685km journey to the Ruhr.

Some have come from even further afield. Roberto, a London-based expat, was on my flight from Luton, travelling alone to support his beloved Beneamata. "The first leg was a disaster," he said, "but the players were tired after so many matches. I'm not expecting miracles. Four-nil is asking too much, but you must support your side in good times and bad. They deserve it after what they did last season and I'm sure we can save some face with a win."

Wednesday 13.30, London
Several players go into tonight's games one booking away from missing the first leg of the semi-finals should their teams progress:

Real Madrid: Ángel Di María, Cristiano Ronaldo, Raúl Albiol, Ricardo Carvalho, Sergio Ramos
Inter: Thiago Motta
Schalke: José Manuel Jurado, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

No United or Barcelona players will be banned, or be even a booking away from suspension next time out. The full disciplinary list can be seen on page 41 of the matchweek stats pack.

Wednesday 12.50, Mark Pettit at White Hart Lane
The team of officials for tonight's match arrived this morning to look around the stadium and dressing rooms, with referee Nicola Rizzoli saying he was looking forward to the unique atmosphere at Tottenham on his first visit to White Hart Lane.

If the home side are seeking goalscoring inspiration they should look no further than two strikers who were also present at the ground earlier – Tottenham's Clive Allen, who scored 49 goals for the club in the 1986/87 season, and Madrid's Emilio Butragueño, a purveyor of 123 league goals in a decade with the Merengues.

Wednesday 12.49, Steffen Potter in Gelsenkirchen
The weather has improved: while there was heavy rainfall on Tuesday, we have clear skies this morning with lots of sun. For the afternoon, light rain is forecast, but expected to clear in time for tonight's game. The Arena's roof is unlikely to be closed after it suffered damage in the winter caused by heavy snow. However, the referee will have the final decision.

Wednesday 12.30, London
Kick-off is getting closer here and in Germany as Tottenham and Inter aim to pull off near-unprecedented comebacks. In our match preview, Harry Redknapp insists "miracles do happen" though José Mourinho wants even more goals. We also have the second part of an in-depth interview with Mourinho, where he speaks about his bid for a third European title and the demands of coaching Madrid.

Xabi Alonso is hoping Madrid do not suffer the same 4-0 loss he once inflicted on them with Liverpool FC while Spurs' Luka Modrić has been watching Gladiator for inspiration. We also profile Modrić's team-mate Sandro, who in turn gives the UEFA Training Ground his guide to being a midfield anchorman.

Schalke's position against Inter is at least as strong as Madrid's yet Ralf Rangnick says the hosts must start the second leg thinking it is 0-0 while opposite number Leonardo refuses to give up hope. Rangnick has been playing Joel Matip in a new centre-back role and the 19-year-old is relishing life under the new coach. Visiting captain Javier Zanetti, who has been at Inter since Matip was four, still believes in a possible comeback.

Wednesday 11.48, Steffen Potter in Gelsenkirchen
The German press could be forgiven for having half an eye on Schalke's semi-final opponents, assuming they see off Inter tonight. Bild writes: "Should Schalke go through against Inter tonight, they have to prepare to face a football 'grandpa' in the semis. In Manchester United's 2-1 win against Chelsea, Ryan Giggs, 37, made the difference. Previously, in the 1-0 first-leg win, he had brilliantly set up Wayne Rooney's winner."

Cologne newspaper Express focuses on Schalke's 5-2 lead, with another of the competition's stalwarts – Raúl González – having a warning for his team-mates: "If we believe we are already in the semis, then that is the first step to us not getting there."

Wednesday 11.21, Donetsk
Words of comfort for Shakhtar as the Ukrainian paper Segodnya writes: "That was the 48th goal for Messi this season – a Spanish club record. Leo set this record in the city where, on 7 December 2004 as a 17-year-old, he made his Barcelona debut. Then Barça lost 2-0. However, yesterday the Argentinian made Barcelona the first club to win a European match at the Donbass Arena. The hosts created many chances again, but just could not score. Guardiola gave a friendly pat on Lucescu's cheek as he said: 'Your time will come.' Shakhtar left the field to an ovation, hoping that Barcelona's coach knows something."

Ua-football.com added: "Yes, Shakhtar couldn't jump over own heads. They couldn't produce a miracle. Once again they couldn't beat Barcelona. Why? Just because Shakhtar, who were called ‘Eastern European Real Madrid' by one journalist, are actually much closer to Barcelona, not Madrid, if you compare their playing styles. And a copy is always weaker than the original. Nothing scary happened. But now we'll have a unique opportunity to see what the real Real Madrid, not the Eastern European version, can do against such cosmic football as that of Barcelona."

Wednesday 10.58, Madrid
El País reports that, despite all the talk in Spain about Madrid's forthcoming encounters with Barcelona, José Mourinho is focused entirely on the Tottenham game. "With the trees in bloom around White Hart Lane and a spring breeze blowing through the streets, José Mourinho did not want anything to disturb the tranquil atmosphere with talk of the games against Barcelona, saying, 'I don't know how many years it has been since we played a semi-final and against Tottenham we're expecting a great game.'"

Wednesday 10.50, London
After Chelsea's fall, Tottenham are the sole side able to end London's wait for a first European Champion Clubs' Cup, at Wembley next month. And the Sun reports on Gareth Bale's belief that Spurs can stun Madrid tonight. "Anything is possible in football. This sport's history is full of incredible, crazy games. Hopefully we can produce the miracle. Madrid lost 4-0 at Anfield not long ago. Why can't we do it at White Hart Lane?"

But if Tottenham are to fail, it will at least allow the English media to hear more from their exiled favourite, José Mourinho. Tonight is his 500th competitive game as a manager and the Daily Telegraph notes: "At Madrid's Valdebebas training ground last week, Mourinho, 48, was curt, grumpy and offered the impression of a man really feeling the heat. Yet at White Hart Lane on Tuesday, he was a model of calm professionalism as he refused to contemplate life after the madhouse that is the world's most garlanded club. It just shows you what a four-goal lead in the Champions League can do for your equilibrium."

Wednesday 10.40, Milan
No team has successfully defended the UEFA Champions League title and Internazionale look unlikely to break that duck. Italian papers Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere dello Sport both play on the words of Inter's anthem Pazza Inter Amala – Crazy Inter Love It – ahead of the game against Schalke.

The headline in the pink newspaper is "Pazza Inter credici" – Crazy Inter believe it – while Corriere dello Sport goes for "Pazza Inter provaci", which translates as Crazy Inter try it. "We have nothing to lose, we don't need a miracle but a special sporting achievement," were the words from Leonardo's press conference chosen for the front page of both newspapers.

Wednesday 10.34, London
United's win keeps them on course for the same UEFA Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble as 12 years ago, something the Daily Mirror observes at the start of its report from Old Trafford: "Determined as hell, relentless as ever, remorseless when it matters. Just like 1999, in fact. While Sir Alex Ferguson does not like the growing talk of the treble, knows this team is not as good as the one that conquered every peak 12 years ago, something is stirring at Old Trafford."

But as United dream of a fourth European title, once again Chelsea have been unable to claim their first. The Guardian hones in on Carlo Ancelotti: "The visiting manager looked unnerved at times on Tuesday night, his frustration clear that his 'special' tactical gamble – a switch from 4-4-2 to 4-3-2-1 – had not produced the goal the away team's initial assuredness had suggested would be theirs. Half-chances were missed, Frank Lampard and Fernando Torres fluffing their lines. By the interval Chelsea trailed and the manager, unnerved, had already conceded that his pre-match tactics had been flawed."

Wednesday 10.23, Madrid
Barcelona-based sports daily El Mundo Deportivo hails the Azulgrana's progress to the semi-finals "for the fourth season in a row", highlighting "fantastic performances from Víctor Valdés and Javier Mascherano" and Lionel Messi's "club-record 48th goal this season" as reasons for their passage to the last four at the expense of Shakhtar.

El País, meanwhile, opines that Josep Guardiola's side were "more recognisable" at the Donbass Arena than in other recent outings, something the paper says bodes well for the team in their weekend Liga encounter with Real Madrid. "At times Barcelona looked to be back to their previous best; they cut the spaces available to their opponents, looked more fluid and attacked better."

Wednesday 10.15, London
After United's triumph against Chelsea FC, Sir Alex Ferguson described the man who made both goals, Ryan Giggs, as "a unique person and player". Giggs himself said the game "was great to play in", while Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Čech rued getting caught for the decisive United strike just after the Londoners had scored themselves.

Barcelona's marksman at FC Shakhtar Donetsk was, predictably, Lionel Messi. Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu said: "If he played for us, I'm sure we would have beaten Barcelona." Visiting defender Gerard Piqué echoed that praise after Messi's ninth goal of the UEFA Champions League campaign and 48th of the season overall. Shakhtar may be out, but it was their best effort in the competition to date and goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov said: "If we had been drawn against anyone but Barcelona then the result could have been different."

Wednesday 10.00, London
Before we get started, a reminder of where the competition stands. Manchester United await the winner of Schalke's tie againstInter, with the semi-final to be played on Tuesday 26 April and Wednesday 4 May – the second leg at Old Trafford.

On Wednesday 27 April, meanwhile, Barcelona will visit either Real Madrid or Tottenham Hotspur before the Camp Nou stages the Tuesday 3 May return. The final will be held at Wembley Stadium on 28 May.

There is still time to play our Predictor competition and during tonight's games tickets will be on offer in our Player Rater feature; after the matches, prizes will be available to win in Play of the Day. Visit the Ford Classics page and enter the Champions Quiz for the chance to win a ticket for this season's final.

Keep up to date with all the latest news and exclusive interviews through our official Facebook pages for the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and UEFA.com.

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Last updated: 05/09/11 17.03CET
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