Real Madrid-Manchester United Preview: European heavyweights brace for titanic tussle

Real Madrid defender Pepe is fit after an ankle injury and is set to make his first start since December in the Champions League showdown against Manchester United on Wednesday.

Xabi Alonso (groin) and Raphael Varane (hamstring) are also available, but captain Iker Casillas is sidelined with a broken thumb.

Sami Khedira, Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil are all likely to return to the starting line-up after being rested during the weekend.

United defenders Phil Jones and Jonny Evans will be assessed after the duo picked up knocks in the 2-0 win over Everton on Sunday.

Midfielder Darren Fletcher (illness) is out, but Ashley Young (knee) and Michael Carrick (hip) have recovered from injuries.

  • The Spanish champions have won three of their eight previous meetings with Manchester United in European competition (W3, D3, L2).
  • Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured, right) made 292 appearances for United between 2003 and 2009, scoring 118 goals.
  • Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 14 matches across all competitions, but have won just four of their last nine away games (W4, D3, L2).
  • The three-time European champions have a poor record on Spanish soil, having registered only two wins in 20 previous visits (W2, D8, L10).
  • Sir Alex Ferguson has emerged victorious in just two of his 14 prior encounters with Madrid counterpart Jose Mourinho (W2, D6, L6).

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