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APOEL Nicosia coach Ivan Jovanovic has called on his players to give the “perfect” performance against Real Madrid on Tuesday night.

However, Jovanovic accepts even that may not be enough against the Spanish giants.

APOEL’s last-16 defeat of Lyon saw them become the first Cypriot team to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League and Jovanovic’s men go into the first-leg clash at the GSP Stadium as rank outsiders.

Madrid lead the Primera Division by six points from defending champions Barcelona with nine games to play and enjoyed a 5-1 thrashing of Real Sociedad at the Bernabeu at the weekend.

APOEL ground out a goalless draw with city rivals Omonia on Friday night and are third in their domestic league.

The indicators point to a comfortable Madrid win over the two legs with even Jovanovic hinting his players may lack the necessary quality to push Jose Mourinho’s expensively-assembled side.

The Serbian said: “Certainly we have to play the perfect performance to do something, and I don’t even know if that will be enough to get a good result.”

Cristiano Ronaldo is the obvious dangerman for Madrid – the Portuguese becoming the fastest player to reach 100 goals in Spanish league history on Saturday night.

The former Manchester United star scored twice in the win against Sociedad and by reaching 101 goals in 92 games surpassed Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas, who hit three figures in 105 games.

On his last visit to Cyprus, in September last year, Ronaldo was booed when playing for his national side at the same venue and Jovanovic is hoping the passionate APOEL fans afford him plenty of respect this time round.

He added: “I was at that game and the attitude of the people to Ronaldo was the worst possible.

“Madrid are a very big club and deserve the respect of everyone, including our own fans.”

Madrid may be closing in on their first La Liga title since 2008 but all is not as rosy as it appears.

Last Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Villarreal and the reaction to the red cards shown to Sergio Ramos and Mesut Ozil – Mourinho and fitness coach Rui Faria were also dismissed – prompted a media blackout before and after the Sociedad game.

UEFA rules stipulate Mourinho must speak to the press before a Champions League game but the Portuguese was not forthcoming when asked what purpose the blackout served.

“I don’t have to justify anything nor do I decide anything,” he said, despite claims yesterday from club director and former striker Emilio Butragueno that the decision had indeed been taken by the club’s coaching staff.

On the game itself, Mourinho admitted Madrid were favourites but warned APOEL would not be underestimated.

He added: “My feeling is that tomorrow we will have a tough game.

“I hope the return at the Bernabeu will be a little easier because we will be in our stadium.

“We are favourites and we cannot compare the history of both teams but football is football and we respect them.”

With Xabi Alonso suspended, Mourinho will likely choose between Fabio Coentrao and Esteban Granero to play alongside Sami Khedira in midfield.

Germany international Khedira is also anticipating a tough game.

“We know that APOEL are a good team and we respect that,” he said.

“They did well in the group stage and then eliminated Lyon. They are a good team, strong, and play with heart. We respect that, but we will win.”

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