All roads will lead to Milan this weekend at two of the best European teams this season will fight for the ultimate title the UEFA Champions League.
After Barcelona last year and Real Madrid the year before, Europe’s top tier title is once again set to land in Spain and specifically in its capital. The Madrid teams Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will face each other twice in three years in the Champions League final this weekend.
The Madrid teams have both been superb in this season’s competition and have hardly looked like losing a game.
A nervous home leg against Manchester City that ended in a victory was enough for Real while Atleti have had to struggle against the holders Barcelona in the semi-final. Ancelloti has beaten their city rivals twice in the two occasions this season and will hope that his team can perform the same way and take revenge for the loss in the final two years ago against the same team.
It is a clash of super-stars in one of the biggest stages in world football and it promises to be a sparkling affair fit enough to bid good-bye to the 2015-16 football season.
Here is the preview of this ultimate clash along with the team news, predictions, expected line-ups and Betting Odds:
The Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will be played on Saturday the 28th of May at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (San Siro) stadium in Milan.
The kick-off is scheduled at 7:45 pm BST (12:15 am on Sunday IST).
The biggest news from the white of Madrid was that Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo limped off from training after colliding with the goal keeper however, he is expected to take the field even if not recovered completely. Raphael Varane who picked up a thing injury will miss this clash while Alvaro Arbeloa’s knee problem keeps him away from a trip to Italy.
On the other hand, Diego Simeone has a fully fit squad to pick from and will have to think hard before sending out the 11 he wants to start the game at the San Siro. A number of players are back into form in recent times and a lot could depend on how Simeone wants his team to play on the night.
Navas; Marcelo, Pepe, Ramos, Carvajal; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Oblak; Felipe Luis, Godin, Gimenez, Juanfran; Carrasco, Gabi, Koke, Niguez; Torres, Griezmann.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Diego Godin:
Though not at his best, Ronaldo is still one of the best players in his side and will be the biggest threat for Atleti on Saturday. The Portuguese winger has been in phenomenal form this season and can easilt run away with the game if it is his day. However, Atleti’s back-bone Diego Godin has himself been in great mood off-late and will surely provide Ronaldo with some head-aches in the final third. This is a battle worth watching in itself.
Antonie Griezmann vs Sergio Ramos:
Griezmann has been terrorizing defenders in the La Liga and also in Europe and is the top scorer for his side this season. He has been a treat to watch at times but will be up against someone who is almost as capable as he is in his duty. Sergio Ramos, the skipper of the Real Madrid side will be in no mood to let the Frenchman assert his dominance and this could be the battle that could settle the game.
Real Madrid have reached the Champions League/European Cup final for the 14th time, more than any other team. They have won 10 of those – also a record, including the last four (1998, 2000, 2002, 2014).
Atlético Madrid have reached the Champions League/European Cup final for the third time (1974, 2014, 2016). They have so far lost their previous two finals (v Bayern Munich after a replay in 1974; v Real Madrid after extra-time in 2014).
This is the third time in the last four years that the Champions League final has been contested by teams from the same nation (Germany 2013, Spain 2014, Spain 2016).
2016 included, Madrid have now made 17 appearances in the Champions League/European Cup final (14 for Real, 3 for Atlético), more than any other city (Milan has 16).
There will be a Spanish winner of the Champions League/European Cup for the third consecutive season, the longest run for a single nation since English clubs won it six times in a row from 1977 to 1982.
Atlético have won seven of their last 16 games against Real Madrid, in all competitions (5 draws, 4 losses). They had failed to win any of their previous 25 games against Real (6 draws, 19 losses).
Real Madrid have won only two of their last 12 competitive games against Atlético, but both wins have come in the Champions League (4-1 after extra-time in the 2014 final; 1-0 in last season’s quarter-final second leg).
Real Madrid have won all three of their Champions League/European Cup ties against Atlético: 1959 semi-final (over three games), 2014 final (after extra-time), 2015 quarter-final (1-0 on aggregate).
Real Madrid: 6/4
Atletico Madrid: 23/10
With 2 wins out of 2 against Real Madrid this season, Diego Simeone will be quietly confident that his team can frustrate the Los Blancos who are searching for the Un Decima this season. However, the pressure of the situation got to them last time around and if they cannot over-come that, Atleti’s hard-work this season will go to waste.
It sure promises to be a thrilling encounter that can easily go the distance.
Real Madrid 1-0 Atletico Madrid (after extra time)