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Preview: Ludogorets v Real Madrid

PFC Ludogorets Razgrad are full of pride prior to their UEFA Champions League home debut against ten-time European champions Real Madrid CF, "the best team in the world".

Ludogorets celebrate the Steaua win that earned this, their first home group game
Ludogorets celebrate the Steaua win that earned this, their first home group game ©Getty Images

Georgi Dermendzhiev speaks of pride in facing "the best team in the world"
The Ludogorets boss admits the late Liverpool FC loss was a bitter pill to swallow
Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti is wary of the home side's counterattacking threat
The Italian says Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player he has coached
Ludogorets have won only nine of their 19 games in all competitions this season

Possible lineups
Ludogorets: Stoyanov; Caiçara, A Aleksandrov, Moți, Minev; S Dyakov, Anicet; M Aleksandrov, Marcelinho, Abalo; Bezjak.
Out: none

Real Madrid: Casillas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modrić, Kroos, James; Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.
Out: Jesé (knee), Khedira (thigh), Coentrão (unspecified)
Doubtful: Pepe (hamstring)

Georgi Dermendzhiev, Ludogorets coach
We are proud to play against the best team in the world and the best players in the world. They have won the European Cup ten times and are the reigning champions. It is a great honour for our club to play against them. The league game against Levski on Saturday is in the past [a 3-2 defeat] and we are looking forward to playing against Real.

Our players are motivated. There is an obvious gulf in the levels between the teams. I am not worried at all, though. There is nothing to lose. It was a bitter pillow to swallow when we lost in the last minute against Liverpool, but we scored in the last minute against Steaua [in the play-offs] and these outcomes are part of football.

We have talked a lot with the players. They realise only too well that they are up against the best players in the world. They must give their all.

Cristiano Ronaldo: Ancelotti's No1
Cristiano Ronaldo: Ancelotti's No1©AFP/Getty Images

Carlo Ancelotti, Madrid coach
There are no average teams. This is the Champions League and every team wants to win every game. You saw how well Ludogorets played against Liverpool and how they will give their all. The first two games are very important and it is a must for us to start with six points. Ludogorets are a very dynamic team, they are well organised.

There will be no underestimating the task at hand. They play with courage, they have speed and are dangerous on the counterattack. They press well and we know only too well what to expect.

Yes, I can say Cristiano Ronaldo is the best payer I have ever coached and that is no disrespect to all the other great players I have worked with. Gareth Bale, for one, is having a wonderful season. It is impossible to use all my players, but it is important they are all ready to play. It is possible [I will rotate the goalkeepers] and Pepe may feature.

Weekend results
PFC Levski Sofia 3-2 Ludogorets (Bedoya 5 37, Sarmov 27; Moţi 16pen, Wanderson 78)
Villarreal CF 0-2 Real Madrid (Modrić 32, Ronaldo 40)

Form guide (all competitions)
Ludogorets: LWWLWD
Madrid: WWWWLL

Match facts
• Madrid scored 20 goals in their six away games in last season's competition, winning four and losing just one. Find out more in the match background.