Atletico can wreak Real revenge in all-Madrid Champions League final
Holly Thackeray | May 26, 2016
Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid
- Champions League final
- Saturday, May 28th
- Kick-off: 19:45 BST
- San Siro, Milan
- Live on BT Sport Showcase/BT Sport Europe/BT Sport YouTube
Grit against Galacticos in all-Spanish San Siro showpiece
And so here it is, the match which really rounds off the European club football campaign, as eyes around the globe will be glued to fantastic footballing theatre the San Siro on Saturday evening for the 61st European Cup final. Will record holders Real Madrid make it a tremendous 11 trophies?
Historic sporting city Milan is host to the 2016 Champions League finale’s stylish line-up, with a Madrid derby grudge match to end all others, as Spanish capital clubs Atletico (6/5 shouts with Coral to lift the trophy) and Real clash as the last two for the second time in three years. The one thing that is for sure, however, is that this star-studded event will be a contest of contrasting styles, from two vastly different clubs from the same city.
Former England nemesis and Argentina hero Diego Simeone’s energetic Atleti side are all about effort, spirit, buzzing and biting at opponents’ heels and admirable defensive organisation. Having been bested just once in their last 10 tussles with their Galactico neighbours, the Vicente Calderon club are a cracking 21/10 price to beat Los Blancos in normal time and avenge their last-gasp 2014 loss in Lisbon.
Though, swashbuckling, attack-orientated and expensively assembled Real have been there and done that 10 times over in European Cup finals, and are not about to allow Atleti (11/10 to win either half) to tarnish such a proud record. Notably their last two victories in 11 attempts versus their cross-capital competitors have both been in the Champions League – which is why Zinedine Zidane’s side are 29/20 favourites to triumph over 90 minutes in Milan.
Does another extra-time extravaganza await?
It was centre half stalwart Sergio Ramos who broke Atletico hearts in 2014 with a 90th minute goal to ensure these two great Spanish rivals ended evenly and take the tie to extra-time, where they eventually ran out thumping 4-1 winners.
That late goal glut was somewhat of an anomaly in these encounters, however, with four of the past 10 fixture meetings across all competitions ending in a draws and narrow scorelines. So, punters can back this fascinating final at 2/1 to finish evenly in normal time again.
If these Madrid derby duels are mainly known for being tight, they are also renowned for being rather testy, with 17 yellow cards shown in their last two wrangles this season alone. Ramos is the prime candidate to be cautioned for Real with eight in his previous 11 Madrid derbies making the defender even-money to be shown a card in 90 minutes, or a nifty 9/1 as first player to go in the book.
For just as feisty Atletico, Uruguay international Diego Godin has seen yellow in his last two capital battles, so looks an equally tasty 10/1 to be the player first booked.
Torres targeting stylish sign off
There are subplots galore in this Champions League test, and none more intriguing than the tale of Atletico academy product Fernando Torres.
The former Spain striker has barely turned out a the San Siro for AC Milan, but has bagged 12 for his hometown club Atleti this term, upon his triumphant return after troubled stints for the Rossoneri and Chelsea.
Soon to be a free agent, but his next club destination still unknown, former Liverpool talisman Torres is 6/1 to strike last in Lombardy after barely featuring in his last Champions League final with Chelsea.
Speaking of that Blues battle, Torres told press: “Everything was against us but we could do it – it was a great feeling.”
Simeone will be hoping his side can channel their similar underdog status, with France forward and leading man Antoine Griezmann the main goal threat. Apparently a summer target for Premier League clubs, Griezmann is 6/4 to notch anytime after his 32-goal season. Meanwhile, homegrown midfield heroes Saul Niguez and Koke are intriguing respective 7/2 and 5/1 anytime shouts.
Ronaldo chasing own record
As for Real Madrid’s extensive roster of lavish and lethal attackers – take your pick from Coral’s excellent odds, though obviously Ballon d’Or and all-time Champions League top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo is the standout name, having seemed to shake off injury concern.
Rampant Ronaldo has struck 16 times in Europa this season, scoring as many goals himself as Atleti have managed as a team, but faces his toughest task in dismantling their defiant defence.
With 15 career goals against this opposition, Ronaldo has the chance to break his own record of 17 in a single Champions League season, with odds of 4/1 for the Portugal predator to poach a brace or better.
While, customers can also opt for Karim Benzema, the only Los Blancos player to have bagged against great rivals Atleti this term, at 7/4 in the anytime market. Wales talisman Gareth Bale was on target in 2014, and is a 6/1 chance for the opening goal.
Coral’s top tip: Back Atletico at 21/10 to win in 90 mins.