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Aug 29, 2013

Real relishing Juve clashes

Real Madrid Director of Institutional Relations Emilio Butragueno says he is content with the club’s Champions League draw, but concedes Juventus will be a “difficult” proposition.

Madrid were pitted alongside Juve, Galatasaray and FC Copenhagen in Group B in Thursday’s draw for the group stages of Europe’s elite competition.

And Butragueno said: “It could have been better, could have been worse. There will be two passionate games against Juventus, a historical rival for us. We know it will be difficult, they are a great club, with great fans, and are very difficult to play under [coach Antonio] Conte, they are a very cohesive side.”

The former Madrid striker said he had spoken before the draw with Juventus’ party, and been told of how much progress the Serie A champions had made in recent years.

“As an organisation, as a club, they are a great institution, very serious,” Butragueno said. “During the meal, we chatted a while with them. They are happy with how their club has been developing these three years. They have put together an excellent team.”

Butragueno said he knew how difficult a challenge Galatasaray would be from Los Blancos’ 5-3 aggregate win in last season’s quarter-finals, while Copenhagen would also pose a challenge.

“We know Galatasaray from last year and know how difficult it is there with their fans,” he said “We went there with a good result, but in the second half we suffered a lot. We know how their fans support them, but we hope we are capable of. Copenhagen may seem an unknown quantity, but we will be a dangerous opponent.”

Getting currently sidelined players such as Xabi Alonso back fit would be a help for Madrid going forward, Butragueno said.

“We hope to get our injured players back as soon as possible so Ancelotti can call on them,” he said. “I believe the group will be very balanced, you cannot be too confident in Europe.”

Meanwhile, Juventus’ general director Beppe Marotta believes his side must pay particular attention to Galatasaray if they are to reach the last 16 of the Champions League for the second year running.

“It’s going to depend a lot on the fixture list and how we arrive at each game, but I think it’s going to be a duel between us and Galatasaray, although we’ll give Real Madrid a game too,” Marotta told Sky Italia.

“Of course with [Real coach Carlo] Ancelotti, it’s harder for us but if we are here it’s because we have the strength to compete.”

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