The 2016 UEFA Champions League Final brings together local rivals Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid for a mouth-watering showdown at Milan’s San Siro stadium on May 28th.
This is the second time in three years that these two Spanish giants have met in the Champions League Final.
In the 2014 Final, Real Madrid nicked an equaliser in the 93rd minute and then went on to win 4-1 in extra time. The Madrid derby in Milan will make for an exciting match but who will go on to be crowned champions of Europe?
Before you rush off to place your bets, check out our guide to the 2016 final below. We’ve also created a list of the top Champions League Betting Sites to help you choose a great online sportsbook to join.
The Road to the Final
Atlético Madrid have had an outstanding campaign so far, dumping the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich out of the cup. They have more than proven themselves as deserving finalists and hopeful winners. The Madrid club has never won the European crown. Despite overtures from major European clubs, Diego Simone has stayed true to Atlético and has proven himself as one of the best managers working today. He will be looking to achieve the club’s biggest win in their history.
Atlético manager Diego Simone has moulded the perfect balance between defence and attack, his team does not rely on any one player, its pure teamwork every second of the game. They have produced a defensive masterclass in their previous Champions League fixtures, keeping a number of impressive clean sheets at home and away. Simone’s outfoxed both Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique and will now take on another former player turned manager in Zinedine Zidane. Atlético have their main man Antoine Griezmann to lead a devastating counterattack on the Galacticos.
Of the 18 players who played in the 2014 Champions League final, only five players remain under Diego Simone. Regardless of the wholesale changes Diego Simone has kept the team spirit alive and has perfected the art of defence. This really shows how good a manager he is. His pack of hungry underdogs will be putting in the work to break down and triumph over a stronger Real Madrid side.
The Road to the Final
Zinedine Zidane, the newly appointed manager and a former Champions League winner during his playing career, will want to add the accolade to his managerial achievements. Real Madrid like to sack managers who don’t deliver the Champions League. Zidane has already seen his side through a number of great performances in this year’s Champions League. The Madrid giants have had an easier path to the final than their city rivals but have managed to put on excellent football displays at the Bernabeu against Wolfsburg and Manchester City.
Zinedine Zidane’s managerial experience is limited and not much is known about his coaching characteristics and tactics. However, the Frenchman has got off to an impressive start and has led his team to a run of 10 straight victories in La Liga and put them on the tails of Barcelona and Atlético Madrid for the domestic championship. It will be a battle of the two managers, that much is clear. Zidane can’t rely on Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale or Karim Benzema to deliver the win.
If Diego Simone barricades the door in Milan then Real will have a tough time and that could see Simone’s men nick a goal and cause an upset. It’s not unlikely either. In fact, that’s what we can see happening. Griezmann and an on-form Fernando Torres make an effective attack and Torres has a habit of scoring against Real Madrid.
Although the white side of Madrid has claimed both victories in their previous two Champions League meetings, their local rivals have not lost any of their last six La Liga matches against Los Blancos.
Recent signs seem to be in favour of Atlético Madrid. But their willpower and unrelenting effort will be met by Real Madrid’s obsession with the Champions League. Atlético have not lost against their neighbours during the current domestic campaign but Real Madrid playing a one-off affair in the cup final is a whole different animal. Real Madrid have not lost a Champions League Final in over 35 years.
The Top 5 Verdict
We firmly believe that the genius footballing brain of Diego Simone, the physical strength of the side, the team spirit, and the desire to make history will bring out the best in Atlético Madrid and see them topple a very impressive Real Madrid team.
Atlético will keep the momentum going and play the way they did against Barcelona and Bayern Munich. It will be a low scoring game with Atlético scraping a 1-0 win. Zidane’s Madrid has had some poor performances in this year’s campaign including a 2-0 defeat to Wolfsburg. They have not had the tough tests that Atlético have had. They played a solid Manchester City side but only managed one goal in both legs. Atlético Madrid’s is a much tougher door to break down. It will be a great game of football and one that will see a few yellow cards. This is another factor that could lose the game for either team. We guess it’s a question of who can hold it together the longest. Will Pepe or Godin lose it first?
We think that Atlético Madrid will be getting their name engraved on that trophy for the first time in their history.