Morientes to put Real loyalty aside for Marseille
Fernando Morientes is relishing the chance to face his old club when Marseille welcome Real Madrid to the Stade Velodrome.
The former Liverpool striker moved to the Bernebeu in 1997 aged 21, and spent six seasons with Real, winning three Champions League titles and La Liga twice before his £6.3 million move to Anfield. He formed a prolific partnership with long-time friend Raul, who will travel to France for the Champions League clash on Tuesday.
And Morientes, on loan at Marseille from Valencia, has fond memories of playing alongside the club captain in the Spanish youth team.
"I've known him for nearly 15 years, since the [1995 FIFA] Under-20 World Cup," Morientes told UEFA.com. "I think I was 19 and he 18 at the time. We were young and had a lot fun playing there.
"I think that moment was one of the most beautiful in our careers because when you are with the younger national teams the pressure you face in club football doesn't exist. You live life and football in a totally different manner; we did so as teenagers who were just at the start, with a hunger to go on and achieve great things. Those memories of spending time together, the games and the training sessions, are great."
Marseille need to better Milan's result against Zurich to qualify for the knock-out stages, while a draw would be sufficient for Real to progress. And while there will be no love lost when Morientes lines up against his old club, he admits it will be a great moment.
"To play against them is something special and even more so when you are playing in a great competition," he said.