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Real Madrid praise Juventus' 'winning mentality' ahead of UCL rematch

Real Madrid director of institutional relations Emilio Butragueno warned of the "winning mentality" of opponents Juventus after the teams were drawn together in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Juve have won all four ties over two legs against Madrid during the modern Champions League era -- including the 2014-15 semifinal -- but Madrid have won both their meetings in the final -- 1998 and last year.

"We played them in last year's final. We know each other very well," Butragueno told beIN SPORTS during the broadcast of the draw in Nyon, Switzerland. "They are always dangerous. Like us, they have a winning mentality and players with a lot of ability. It will be a very close tie. They have shown many times what they are capable of."

Butragueno said that Madrid had shown their ability when defeating Paris Saint-Germain 5-2 on aggregate in the round of 16, and he said Juventus showed they are especially dangerous opponents by edging past Tottenham Hotspur 4-3 on aggregate in the round of 16.

"Honestly, I feel Tottenham were superior for much of the tie, but Juve had the character to be able to qualify," Butragueno said. "That says a lot about the winning mentality they have."

Madrid will travel to Juventus on April 3 before hosting their opponents at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 11.

"In principle, playing the second game at home can be better, but against PSG, we played a home first and went through," Butragueno said.

"The important things is for the team to play well, and be at their best. In this competition, you can pay dearly for any mistake, so we must pay attention to everything over the 180 minutes."

Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid defeated Juventus in the Champions League final last year.

Meanwhile, Juventus vice-president Pavel Nedved does not believe the defeat in last year's final in Cardiff, Wales, will have any effect on this year's quarterfinal.

"That was just a one-off match in which we coped for 45 minutes," Nedved told his club's website. "They are used to that type of match and you saw that in the last final, when they emerged for the second half.

"Over two legs, I think we've got a bit more of a chance, even if we know we will face enormous difficulty. We're at home first and we'll have [Medhi] Benatia and [Miralem] Pjanic suspended, and they are two important players for us.

"That's going to make it even more difficult for us, but it starts at 0-0."

While Juventus are top in Serie A and have reached the Coppa Italia final, Madrid are 15 points behind leaders Barcelona in La Liga and were already knocked out of the Copa del Rey.

Nedved warned that will make Madrid more focused than ever on making history with a third consecutive Champions League title.

"We're up against a side who have won the Champions League twice in a row and they were impressive against Paris Saint-Germain," Nedved said. "They're not worried about [La Liga] now and will be focusing on the Champions League and will do everything they can to win it again.

"They are going to be two difficult games, but we will try to do what Juve can do. We're in good form and you saw that in London [against Tottenham], where we suffered but where our old guard sustained us. We wanted to reach this stage of the season like this, with this form, challenging on all fronts."

And, asked whether those disappointments meant this season would be a "failure" if Madrid do not win the Champions League, Butragueno said neither he nor his team would be looking that far ahead yet.

"We must take on this tie first," Butragueno said. "It will be very difficult. Many thought after the last tie against Paris Saint-Germain that Real Madrid would not go through, but we are here in the quarters and now the semis are our objective. The final is still a long way away."

ESPN FC's Italy correspondent Ben Gladwell contributed to this report.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan


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