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Benítez steels Real Madrid for Shakhtar

"It's going to be a difficult match if we do not give due respect to Shakhtar," Rafael Benítez warned Real Madrid as they begin their 20th group campaign against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Rafael Benítez speaks to the media
Rafael Benítez speaks to the media ©AFP/Getty Images
  • Rafael Benítez insists Real Madrid must take Shakhtar Donetsk seriously
  • Madrid are embarking on their 20th group stage campaign
  • Cristiano Ronaldo scored five for Madrid at the weekend
  • Shakhtar have lost just once in 13 matches in all competitions this season
  • Mircea Lucescu eager to show Shakhtar are the best team in eastern Europe

Possible lineups
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Isco, Kroos, Modrić; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Out: Danilo (foot), James Rodríguez (thigh)

Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov; Srna, Kucher, Rakitskiy, Shevchuk; Stepanenko, Fred, Marlos, Taison; Alex Teixeira; Gladkiy.
Out: none

Rafael Benítez, Real Madrid coach
Shakhtar are a great team with an experienced coach who always gets good performances from his new players. It's going to be a difficult match if we are not focused and do not give due respect to Shakhtar.

When I arrived here, I said we are going to play offensively while trying to improve our defending. The talent is there and these players need some freedom. Balance is not easy to achieve but when players understand what their position is, the team is unstoppable.

Mircea Lucescu, Shakhtar coach
We respect all our opponents but this is a very difficult game. Real Madrid are a super club with top-level organisation. It's not good to start the competition against a team like this; Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have an advantage in starting [Group A] at home.

Benítez is a great strategist and Real Madrid are onto a winner with a coach like him. We always play offensively in Ukraine but we have also proved that we can defend well. We want to show people that we are the best team in eastern Europe. 

Weekend results
Espanyol 0-6 Real Madrid
(Ronaldo 7 17pen 20 61 81, Benzema 28)
Ronaldo helped himself to five goals and surpassed Raúl González as Real Madrid's all-time leading scorer in the Spanish Liga.

Metalist 0-5 Shakhtar Donetsk (Rakitskiy 35, Alex Teixeira 39 63pen, Kucher 53, Gladkiy 80)
Alex Teixeira struck twice to take his tally to seven in six Premier-Liha games this term, while Metalist had Dmytro Ryzhuk dismissed in conceding a penalty.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)*
Real Madrid: WWD
Shakhtar: WWDWWL

*This season only

Dani Carvajal talks to the media on Monday
Dani Carvajal talks to the media on Monday©AFP/Getty Images

Reporter's view: Joe Walker (@UEFAcomJoeW)
Real Madrid will be looking to continue their impressive group stage form, having taken maximum points last season. Benítez has already brought defensive solidity to the club, with the Merengues the only Liga side yet to concede this term. With Paris and Malmö also in the section, the 2014 winners will know a good start is imperative against the Pitmen.

Did you know?
How many times have Madrid failed to win on matchday one? The answer to that and more can be found in our extensive match background.

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