Real Madrid vs. Manchester City: 5 players who will decide the first leg

Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Ferland Mendy
Real Madrid, Ferland Mendy (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Manchester City GK Ederson

Ederson is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, though his mistakes often lead fans, especially fans of rival clubs, to criticize him heavily. The Manchester City goalkeeper’s quickness, reflexes, and ball-playing ability make him capable of producing interventions that other keepers can’t, and it will be very interesting to see how his strengths and weaknesses match up against Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr.

Of course, Benzema has been a nightmare for keepers in the Champions League. Ask Karius. Even this season, he has forced mistakes out of two of the very best keepers in the world, Edouard Mendy and Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Let’s see if Ederson can avoid making mistakes and have a few goal-saving interventions of his own. Madridistas cannot underestimate him.

Real Madrid LB Ferland Mendy

Ferland Mendy should be good to go after missing the last couple of games with an injury as a result of the grueling second leg win over Chelsea. The Frenchman is an important player to Real Madrid, as the other left back options the club has used recently, Marcelo and Nacho, simply are not good enough for the Champions League. Marcelo has somewhat held his own, but there’s no way Real could trust him against Riyad Mahrez.

In addition to being important against the Algerian winger, Mendy will be key offensively. Pep Guardiola may try to force Real to use the left back as a ball-carrier, focusing a lot of defensive attention on the running Vinicius Jr. provides, particularly in transition.

Can Mendy step up and help the winger out?