Since the 2004-2005 Champions League season, Real Madrid have endured a bad fate â€“ exiting from the last sixteen of the tournament every year.
In the 2009-2010 season, things must change for Los Blancos. The nine-time winners of the Champions League trophy have the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Karim Benzema, Xabi Alonso, and many more stars in their team, so no supporter will accept to swallow defeat in the last sixteen of the competition for the fifth consecutive time.
The final of the Champions League will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu in May 2010 and Real Madrid would not want to miss on that. But how dangerous could Lyon prove to be in the Spanish Giantâ€™s European campaign?
Real Madrid have been paired against the former French Ligue 1 champions for what should be a very difficult tie to decide.
Quickly after the draws, Manuel Pellegrini reflected on his sideâ€™s chances with a positive view. The Real Madrid boss declared:
â€œIt will be a game of the highest level, hopefully and we can advance further in the tournament.â€
As previous statistics between Real Madrid and Lyon prove that the French side are difficult to break down, Manuel Pellegrini retorted:
â€œIâ€™m not bothered by statistics. Taking them into consideration is important but it doesnâ€™t come as a deciding factor.
â€œPlaying Lyon will be just as hard as Bayern Munich or Inter.â€
During the 2007/2008 season which saw Cristiano Ronaldo (then a Red Devil) performing wonders over wonders, Manchester United had to meet Lyon in the last sixteen of the UEFA Champions League.
Tevezâ€™s goal had canceled Karim Benzemaâ€™s opener at the Stade Gerland to earn Manchester United a vital draw away from home. However, the man who really sank Olympique Lyonnaisâ€™ dreams of progressing was Cristiano Ronaldo as he scored at the 40th minute to fire Manchester United into the quarter-finals 2-1 on aggregate.
Things have changed for Lyon since then and they seem much stronger in the UEFA Champions League now. But this, perhaps, doesnâ€™t mean that Cristiano Ronaldoâ€™s presence will not torment them once again.
Aside from the Portugueseâ€™s potential threat, Lyon will also have to face former mates, Karim Benzema and Mahamadou Diarra.
Either way, Lyonâ€™s President Jean-Michel Aulas still finds hope and confidence despite the difficulty of the draw. He explained to the media:
â€œWeâ€™ve had the privilege to play four times against Real Madrid [in the UEFA Champions League], and weâ€™ve never lost.
â€œThey are a wonderfully side. Thereâ€™s no favorite but I think we have the chance to progress.â€
Angela Asante, CRF Chief Editor