Whilst the big games has been coming thick and fast in the last few weeks, this has to be the biggest of them all – it’s the one we’ve all been waiting for – the Champions League final.
This year’s final, set in AC Milan and Internazionale’s shared stadium ‘San Siro’, will see a rematch of the 2014 final in Lisbon, where Atletico cruelly had the win snatched from their grasp in the final seconds of the game before Real ran away with it in extra time, recording a 4-1 win.
The game will see Zinedine Zidane looking for his first piece of silverware as a manager, and what a piece of silverware it would be!
His side looked slightly shaky when he first took over, but in recent weeks they have gone from strength to strength, and came incredibly close to winning the title after a great run of results.
So far, it is fair to say that Zidane has only had one very big game, which was in El Clasico against Barcelona, and a 1-2 away win saw his side continue to improve, whilst it sent Barcelona on a run of poor form.
That game of course was only the first of what will surely be many big games for Zidane as a manager, but it shows that he was able to put out a winning team in a crunch match, which is encouraging for Real.
Also on Real’s side is quite simply the fact that they have a lot of world class players, with the likes of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos in their ranks, and on their day, Real are as good as anyone, so their big names will have to be on top form.
Whilst they may have looked a disjointed side earlier in the season,(especially under Rafa Benitez) providing that they can produce a little bit of magic, they will always have a great chance, and with the added fact that they are on an impressive run of matches under their new manager, they could be favourites.
However, in their way are Diego Simeone’s Atletico, who, no matter what team they are up against, will always be a difficult team to beat.
Whilst being one of the best defensive teams in the world with the solid Diego Godin and Jose Maria Giminez proving to be a trusty and consistent partnership all year long and Filipe Luis and Juanfran also just as reliable in the full back spots, Atletico are dangerous on the counter attack aswell.
The searing pace and deadly finishing of Antoine Griezmann will be a huge threat, so don’t be surprised to see the French striker using every chance he gets to exploit Real’s defensive frailties, and if he could put Simeone’s side a goal up early on, there is no doubting that Atletico have the capabilities to hold on for a long period of time.
When the two sides crossed paths in the league this season, their first encounter saw a 1-1 draw at the Vicente Calderon, and when they met again at the Bernabeu Atletico triumphed 0-1, and with that added to Atleti’s 4-0 win in the same fixture last season, it seems as if Simeone always has one up over Real Madrid, although who can tell?
The stakes for Saturday’s match will be even higher as neither team have won a trophy so far this season, with Barcelona sweeping up both domestic competitions, so the game will effectively decide, for both teams, whether their season has been a failure or a success – the tension is building…