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Madrid host Napoli in next stage of title defence

Holders Real Madrid continue the defence of their UEFA Champions League title by welcoming last-16 rivals Napoli, a side with a strong recent away record in Europe.

Karim Benzema is Madrid's top scorer this season with four goals
Karim Benzema is Madrid's top scorer this season with four goals ©Getty Images

Holders Real Madrid continue the defence of their UEFA Champions League title by welcoming SSC Napoli for the first leg of their round of 16 tie.

• Napoli qualified as winners of Group B, while Madrid finished runners-up to Borussia Dortmund in Group F.

• This is a tie which brings two former Madrid players back to the Santiago Bernabéu – 2012 Spanish championship winners Raúl Albiol and José Callejón.

Previous meetings
• Leo Beenhakker's Madrid overcame Napoli 3-1 on aggregate in the sides' only past encounter, in the first round of the 1987/88 European Champion Clubs' Cup.

Madrid won the first leg 2-0 through goals from Míchel (penalty) and Miguel Tendillo, before earning a 1-1 draw at the Stadio San Paolo where Emilio Butragueño – now a club director – cancelled out Giovanni Francini's opener for a Napoli team coached by Ottavio Bianchi and captained by Diego Maradona.

Match background

Real Madrid
• Unbeaten in the group stage, Madrid are looking to reach the quarter-finals for the seventh successive year – and have their sights set on becoming the first club to retain the trophy in the UEFA Champions League era.

• The Merengues were on an eight-match winning streak in European home fixtures prior to their 2-2 draw with Borussia Dortmund on matchday six.

• Overall, they have won 28 of their last 33 UEFA Champions League home games, losing just once – 4-3 against FC Schalke 04 in the 2014/15 round of 16.

• Although Madrid beat AS Roma (2-0 a, 2-0 h) at this stage of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League, they had previously lost eight consecutive two-legged knockout ties against Italian opposition, including a semi-final against Juventus in 2014/15.

• Madrid have won 22 of their 31 home matches against Italian opponents (D3 L6).

• This is only Napoli's second appearance in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League and they are seeking to make the quarter-finals for the first time. They lost to Chelsea FC at this stage in 2011/12, letting slip a 3-1 first-leg home win with a 4-1 extra-time defeat in London.

• Maurizio Sarri's men took seven of their 11 points in Group B on the road, having posted 2-1 victories at both FC Dynamo Kyiv and SL Benfica either side of a 1-1 draw at Beşiktaş JK.

• Their only European away reverse in seven games since the start of last term (W5 D1 L1) was in Spain – a 1-0 loss at Villarreal CF in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 on 18 February 2016 (1-2 agg).

• Marek Hamšík, who scored the second goal, and Christian Maggio are the only two survivors of Napoli's last victory in Spain – 2-0 at Villarreal in the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Napoli's overall record away to Spanish opponents is W2 D0 L4. They have not won in their last four matches against Liga sides, home and away (D2 L2).

Coach and player links
• Zinédine Zidane spent five seasons in Italy with Juventus (1996–2001), lifting two Serie A titles. He was unbeaten in six fixtures against Napoli (W3 D3), scoring in a 1-1 home draw in November 1996 and a 2-1 away victory in November 1997.

• With France, Zidane won the UEFA EURO 2000 final against Italy but lost the 2006 FIFA World Cup final against the Azzurri – a game in which he scored France's goal from the penalty spot but was later sent off.

• A product of Madrid's youth system, Callejón struck 21 goals in 42 league outings for their B team, Castilla (2006–08). After three seasons at RCD Espanyol (P3 L3 v Madrid), he returned to the Spanish capital for a two-year stay in the Merengues' first team, notching eight goals in 55 Liga appearances.

• Albiol played 81 Liga matches, scoring one goal, for Real Madrid between 2009 and 2013. He had previously represented Getafe CF and Valencia CF (W4 D1 L5 v Madrid). Albiol registered his first top-flight goal in a 2-1 Getafe win over Madrid in March 2005 but was sent off for Valencia in a 5-1 home defeat by Madrid in October 2007.

• Pepe Reina did not beat Madrid in seven attempts with FC Barcelona and Villarreal (D3 L4) but got the better of them as a Liverpool FC player in the 2008/09 UEFA Champions League round of 16, keeping two clean sheets (1-0 a, 4-0 h).

• Mateo Kovačić did not beat Napoli in four attempts (D2 L2) during two and a half seasons with FC Internazionale Milano (2013–15).

• Álvaro Morata faced Napoli four times during two campaigns in Italy with Juventus (W3 L1), without scoring.

• Morata, Sergio Ramos and Lucas Vázquez were in the Spain side beaten 2-0 by an Italy team including Emanuele Giaccherini and substitute Lorenzo Insigne in the last 16 of UEFA EURO 2016.

• Toni Kroos, with a penalty converted in a 6-5 shoot-out success, helped Germany edge out Giaccherini and Insigne's Italy in the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter-finals. Insigne and Giaccherini converted their spot kicks.

• In another EURO quarter-final shoot-out, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe's Portugal ousted Arkadiusz Milik's Poland 5-3, both Ronaldo and Milik scoring their penalties.

• Insigne was in the Italy team dispatched 4-2 by the Spain of Isco and Morata in the final of the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.

• Players from the same national team:
Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Vázquez, Isco, Morata & Reina, Albiol, Callejón (Spain)
Kovačić, Modrić & Rog, Strinić (Croatia)

Match facts

Real Madrid
• The match will be preceded by a minute of silence in memory of Madrid board member and former president Luis Gómez Montejano, who passed away on 5 February aged 94.

• Madrid have won eight of their 12 fixtures since drawing with Dortmund on matchday six.

• During that time they lifted the FIFA Club World Cup and set a Spanish record of 40 games unbeaten in all competitions, a run that ended with a 2-1 defeat at Sevilla FC on 15 January.

• Three days after the Sevilla reverse, the Whites lost 2-1 at home to RC Celta de Vigo in the first instalment of their Copa del Rey quarter-final. They drew the second leg 2-2.

• The Merengues have scored in their past 40 matches in all competitions, dating back to the 0-0 draw against Manchester City FC in the first leg of last season's semi-final.

• Ronaldo registered a hat-trick as Zidane's men triumphed 4-2 after extra time against Kashima Antlers in the FIFA Club World Cup final on 18 December.

UEFA Champions League squad changes
In: Abner, Achraf Hakimi
Out: Martin Ødegaard, Borja Sánchez

• Kalidou Koulibaly is a booking away from a ban.

• Napoli are 18 games unbeaten in all competitions, winning 12 of them.

• Partenopei will play Juventus – the last team to beat them in all competitions on 29 October – in the Coppa Italia semi-finals, the first leg taking place on 28 February

• With 16 Serie A goals to his name, Dries Mertens is enjoying his most productive campaign in a Napoli shirt. He is five goals shy of equalling his career-best total for a league season, set with PSV Eindhoven in 2011/12.

• Mertens has scored three hat-tricks this term, all of them since mid-December.

• Mertens and Hamšík were both on target three times in the 7-1 win at Bologna FC on 4 February – the first time Napoli have scored seven in an away fixture.

• Hamšík has 109 goals for Napoli, six behind leader Diego Maradona on the club's all-time top scorers' list.

• Milik was an unused substitute against Bologna and Genoa, his first appearances in a matchday squad since undergoing knee surgery in October.

• Koulibaly scored his side's first penalty but Senegal lost 5-4 on spot kicks to eventual champions Cameroon in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals. Faouzi Ghoulam's Algeria failed to progress beyond the group stage.

• Napoli signed Leonardo Pavoletti from Genoa on 3 January.

UEFA Champions League squad changes
In: Leonardo Pavoletti 

Out: Manolo Gabbiadini, Roberto Insigne

UEFA makes new donation of €100,000 to ICRC
UEFA will mark a decade of helping Afghan landmine victims prior to the game, when Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos presents a cheque for €100,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"I would like to pay tribute to the ICRC, who have been working relentlessly to help landmine victims, many of whom are children. Their programme in Afghanistan, which has been in place for several years, shows that football can offer real hope in challenging times," said UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin.

"I am glad that UEFA can help this cause, and that the sport we love can have a positive impact on the rehabilitation process of so many people in this troubled region," he added.

The donation supports the ICRC's physical rehabilitation programme for landmine victims and other people with disabilities in Afghanistan – providing artificial limbs, physiotherapy, vocational training and access to the rehabilitation centre's football team. About a third of patients are children.

"The people benefiting from the ICRC programme in Afghanistan are an inspiration to us, as they set an example of how to approach life in a positive manner despite the problems that they face," the Real Madrid captain said.

Sergio Ramos was chosen to hand over the cheque after receiving the most votes in UEFA.com's Team of the Year, which was published in January, and added that it is "a privilege" to be "a source of motivation" to so many people.

"They don't stop dreaming, and they fight to make their dreams come true. As key figures in this sport, it's a true privilege for us footballers to be a source of motivation in their day-to-day lives, and to help them out," he said.

Over the course of a partnership lasting almost 20 years, UEFA has donated in excess of €3.5m to the ICRC to help disadvantaged people around the globe. Meanwhile, over 7 million votes were cast in selecting the UEFA.com users' Team of the Year 2016. More information on the award is available online at en.toty.uefa.com.

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