Mauricio Pochettino cannot wait to lock horns again with Real Madrid.
The Tottenham manager spent the best part of 12 years taking on the Spanish giants in his time as player and later Head Coach of Espanyol in La Liga.
Now he will pit his wits against Zinedine Zidane as Spurs face the 12-times Champions League winners and holders in qualifying Group H alongside Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund and Cypriot champions APOEL.
“It’s fantastic to play against a massive team, one of the biggest teams in the world in Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia,” said Mauricio. “It will be tough but in the same way, we’re so excited to start this competition.
“The Champions League is the best competition in the world with the Premier League and we’re all excited to play.”
Pochettino smiled to himself when Spurs were drawn with Real Madrid. “… because Real Madrid is one of the best teams in the world, the last champion of the Champions League and it’s always exciting to play and a massive challenge for us. For every single player, it’s a massive motivation to play against Real Madrid.
“Zinedine Zidane was an amazing player, fantastic, one of the best in history. He’s now doing a great job as manager in Real Madrid and winning titles. He’s started well in his career as a manager, just how he was as a player.
“Borussia Dortmund is another big club, a very good team and another challenge. Of course, it’s a different season (to when we faced them in the Europa League, 2016) but it’s always difficult to play against German teams and Borussia Dortmund have very good players.
“Apoel as well. For me, when the teams are in the Champions League, it’s because they deserve to be there. It will be difficult to beat them.
“If you are in the best competition in the world, it’s because you deserve to be there. Then you expect big games and tough games. It will be tough for everyone, not just us, but Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and APOEL Nicosia – our challenge is to go to the next round.”