It’s an all Madrid final in Europe’s biggest football match as Real Madrid take on Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday evening.
Real are overwhelming favourites to win their tenth European crown in Lisbon but Atletico, who secured La Liga last weekend, will be hoping to upset the most coveted side in European Cup history and claim their very first Champions League title.
Real Madrid Favourites
Incredibly, this is Real Madrid’s first appearance in a Champions League final for 12 years, with their last appearance coming in 2002, where they beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1, to win their ninth European title.
Having said that, the Spanish giants had reached the semi-finals for past four seasons, but something just clicked in the last four this year, as they quite frankly embarrassed defending champions Bayern Munich 5-0 on aggregate.
Karim Benzema gave Real a slight advantage in the first leg but they ran riot in Munich, with braces from Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Bayern stunned.
There is something exciting about the Madrid team this season, with the most dangerous attacking trio in world football: Ronaldo, Benzema and Gareth Bale.
It begs the question, where did it all go wrong domestically, with Carlo Ancelotti’s side stumbling towards the end of the campaign, leaving them third behind their cross-city rivals and Barcelona.
But they have been a different beast in Europe, having won 10 of their 12 matches, with the 2-0 defeat in Dortmund during the quarter-finals, their only defeat on the list.
And they were boosted by the news earlier this week that key men Ronaldo and Bale will both be fit for Saturday’s final. Ronaldo had missed the last two matches whilst Bale missed training but Ancelotti confirmed the most expensive players in world football will be available for the final.
However question marks remain over Benzema who is struggling with a groin injury picked up in last weekend’s over Espanyol whilst Pepe is struggling with a calf problem. Xabi Alonso’s yellow card in the second leg in Munich means he’s suspended for the final and Jese misses out with a knee injury.
The last meeting between the two sides ended in a 2-2 draw in March but Real won both legs of their Copa Del Rey semi-finals back in March and they are best priced at Evens with Bet Victor.
Atletico Madrid Betting Tips
This is Atletico’s first appearance in the final of the Champions League for 40 years, but they’ll be in no rush to cast their minds back to the last final in 1974. After drawing 1-1 with Bayern Munich, the match went to a replay where they were thumped 4-0.
Of course they will want to go out and set the records straight, but whatever happens on Saturday, they will have the comfort of knowing they broke the ten year-strangle hold of Barcelona and Real on the La Liga, winning it for the tenth time in their history.
Diego Simeone is still sweating on the fitness of star pair Diego Costa and Arda Turan. Striker Costa, a target for Chelsea this summer, was in tears after limping off the pitch during the 1-1 draw with Barcelona on Saturday and will leave a big hole if not involved, after scoring 27 goals in the league this season.
Local press have speculated that Turan’s hamstring injury is not as bad as first expected and stands a slightly better chance than Costa. Fellow midfielder Cristian Rodriguez is also a doubt with a hamstring injury.
Atletico are without a win in three games but had enough to claim the league title last weekend. Their last win over Real came back in September when they nicked a 1-0 win from the Santiago Bernabeu and they also won the last final meeting between the two sides, with a 2-1 extra time victory securing the Copa Del Rey last season.
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Watch the final live on either ITV1 or Sky Sports 1 on Saturday night from 7:45pm.