Real Madrid CF begin their quest to do what no side has done in the UEFA Champions League era and retain the European Cup. The defending champions kick off their 2016/17 campaign against a Sporting Clube de Portugal side seeking their own first – a victory in Spain.
• For Cristiano Ronaldo, the match brings a reunion with the club where he spent six years (1997–2003) before leaving for Manchester United FC.
• The clubs last met in the 2000/01 UEFA Champions League first group stage, when Madrid were again defending champions. Then as now they faced each other on matchday one – on 12 September 2000 – and Madrid recovered a two-goal half-time deficit to draw 2-2 in Lisbon as a Roberto Carlos free-kick and Rui Jorge own goal cancelled out Ricardo Sá Pinto and André Cruz’s goals.
• Vicente del Bosque’s men won the return 4-0 with Guti, Sávio and Fernando Morientes (two) all scoring. Madrid finished top of the group and Augusto Inácio’s Sporting bottom.
• The lineups for that match on 25 October 2000 were:
Madrid: Sánchez, Geremi, Campo, Helguera, Roberto Carlos (Solari 69), Celades, Makelele, Figo (McManaman 52), Guti, Sávio, Munitis (Morientes 61).
Sporting: Nélson, César Prates, André Cruz, Hugo (Barbosa 71), Beto, Dimas, Mpenza, Delfim (Bino 46), Mahon (Acosta 46), Sá Pinto, João Pinto.
• Madrid prevailed too when the clubs met in the 1994/95 UEFA Cup first round. Martín Vázquez earned them a 1-0 win at the Santiago Bernabéu and they advanced on away goals after a 2-1 second-leg loss where Sá Pinto and Oceano scored either side of Michael Laudrup.
• This Group F fixture comes 109 days after Madrid won their 11th European Cup with a 5-3 penalty shoot-out victory over neighbours Club Atlético de Madrid following a 1-1 draw in Milan.
• Madrid won all six home games in the 2015/16 competition, with an aggregate scoreline of 19-0.
• They have won 26 of their last 30 UEFA Champions League home fixtures, losing just once – 4-3 to FC Schalke 04 in 2014/15.
• Madrid have never lost at home to visitors from Portugal (W8 D1).
• This is Sporting’s seventh participation in the UEFA Champions League group stage and only once have they progressed to the knockout round, reaching the 2008/09 round of 16.
• Sporting were Portuguese Liga runners-up last term when they also reached the last 32 of the UEFA Europa League before losing home and away to Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
• Sporting’s record in Spain reads W0 D3 L8. Their last visit was for a 3-1 semi-final second-leg defeat at Athletic Club in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League – a result that cost them a final place (3-4 agg). Rui Patrício and João Pereira both played that night.
Coach and player links
• Zinédine Zidane converted the 117th-minute penalty that took France past Portugal in the semi-finals of UEFA EURO 2000. He was also on the scoresheet in Madrid’s last victory over Portuguese opposition – 3-1 at FC Porto in the 2003/04 group stage.
• Jorge Jesus’s last match against Spanish opposition was the 2015 UEFA Europa League final where his SL Benfica team lost 4-2 on penalties to Sevilla FC after a goalless draw.
• Cristiano Ronaldo began his career in Sporting’s academy and spent the 2002/03 campaign in the first team, making 25 league appearances and scoring three goals. He faced Sporting as a Manchester United player in the 2007/08 group stage and was the match winner in both games; he got the only goal in Lisbon on matchday one, then struck a 92nd-minute free-kick to down his old club 2-1 at Old Trafford.
• Sergio Ramos converted a penalty past Rui Patrício when Spain beat Portugal on spot kicks in the UEFA EURO 2012 semi-finals.
• As a Porto player, James Rodriguez scored past Rui Patrício in a 2-0 home league win over Sporting in October 2012. Twelve months later Danilo got the better of Rui Patrício in the same fixture, Porto winning 3-1.
• Fábio Coentrão hit Portugal’s winning goal in a 2-1 UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying victory over a Serbia team including Lazar Marković and Radosav Petrović in March 2015.
• João Pereira was unbeaten in three visits to the Bernabéu as a Valencia CF player, recording three draws between 2012 and ’14.
• Elías appeared in Atlético Madrid’s 2-1 home derby reverse against Madrid in 2010/11.
• Pepe had a trial at Sporting during his time as a CS Marítimo player in 2002/03.
• International team-mates:
Cristiano Ronaldo, Fábio Coentrão, Pepe & Adrien Silva, Rui Patrício, William Carvalho (Portugal)
Keylor Navas & Joel Campbell, Bryan Ruiz (Costa Rica)
Casemiro & Elias (Brazil)