Saturday 28th May. 7:45PM. BT Sport Europe
After waiting 59 years for a one-city European Cup final, Milan’s San Siro will be host to the second in three years. Incredibly, it’s the same teams that faced off in the 2014 final too as Atletico Madrid look to avenge the disappointment of two years ago by beating arch rivals Real Madrid to the title.
It’s already been a phenomenal Champions League campaign, and nobody could argue against the credentials of these two sides. And if they provide anything like the drama they did two years ago, we will be in for a classic.
Bring it on!
Real Looking For Repeat Of 2014
It’s not been the easiest of seasons for Real Madrid as Los Blancos have had to contend with a change of manager, multiple injuries and plenty of scrutiny throughout the campaign. This club is synonymous with this trophy, though, and are now just 90 minutes away from registering their 11th European Cup victory.
Zinedine Zidane famously fired the Blancos to the title back in 2002, but guiding them to club football’s biggest crown in his first season as manager would be equally incredible. The 2014 winners were dealt a massive scare in the build-up, though, as Cristiano Ronaldo limped out of training on Wednesday. Thankfully, the 16-goal scorer was back on Thursday and should be fine for Saturday’s showpiece final.
Ronaldo might be the star attraction, but he isn’t Real’s only option in the attacking third. Gareth Bale was the match-winner when these side met in Lisbon two years ago, and the Welshman has evolved into an integral member of the side. Meanwhile, Karim Benzema will be desperate to put on a big show after being omitted, as expected, from the France squad for Euro 2016.
Arguably Zidane’s biggest blessing, though, is that he has built upon the defensive foundations laid by predecessor Rafa Benitez, which gives the Bernabeu giants a far greater balance. If they show those qualities in attack and defence here, title number 11 could well be coming back with them.
Atletico To Be Crowned Kings Of Europe?
Diego Simeone’s men were just seconds away from winning the big one two years ago, but the Rojiblancos will feel that 2016 is their time, especially after knocking out defending champions Barcelona in such heroic fashion in the semi-final. And they’ve certainly got enough quality to make it happen.
Since their last final appearance, Atletico have found a new star in the form of Antoine Greizmann, and the Frenchman will be eager to increase his tally of 32 goals by finding the target on the biggest stage of all. Meanwhile, the support of Fernando Torres could be a key asset too.
Atletico’s biggest strength, however, is easily their defence. Simeone’s side shipped just 18 goals in the entire La Liga season whilst the way they contained Barcelona was a masterclass. If they can take strike first, they’ll make it immensely difficult for Real to bounce back. Quite frankly, the first goal could be vital.
Atletico will be extremely optimistic, especially after taking four points from his season’s head-to-head matches. If they can break the psychological edge that their opponents hold in this competition, the trophy might finally be heading to the Calderon,
The stage is set for what should be an absolutely thrilling final. You wouldn’t want to miss it for the world.C
Champions League Final: Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid Betting
Both sides will enter Saturday’s final with every reason to believe they’ll lift the trophy, and the bookies aren’t confident about calling this one. However, Bet365 have established Real as the favourites at odds of 6/4 to win in 90 minutes while Atletico are priced 23/10. Alternatively, if you think it’ll go to extra-time again, the draw can be backed at 21/10.
The Rojiblancos have done amazing work to genuinely turn Spain’s big two into a big three over the past few years, and a first European Cup triumph would signal their crowning achievement. However, they’ve always been in the shadow of their illustrious city rivals, and the Zidane factor could have a telling factor here.
We fancy Real to scoop their 11th title, but it certainly won’t be easy. We’re backing them to win by one goal.
Various bookmakers will be offering special offers and we’re loving the look of some of SkyBet’s request-a-bet specials.
In particular, we’re looking at each team to take 4 or more corners in the match while also picking up at least three bookings apiece. Odds of 7/2? That’s gotta be worth a punt!