The much awaited Champions League 2016 final is here and the two Spanish neighbours Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid lock horns in the penultimate fixture at the prestigious San Siro in Milan. This is the second time inside three years that these two teams are pitted against each other in the tournament’s final and it is anyone’s game on Saturday evening.
Real Madrid are record winners of the Champions League with 10 titles and there new coach Zinedine Zidane will be aiming the eleventh title. Zidane, who won the title with the Los Blancos scoring the decisive goal in 2001/02 against Bayer Leverkusen is also eyeing to become the seventh man to win a UEFA tournament, both as player and coach.
The bitter neighbours Atletico Madrid are aiming for their first Champions League title and they would definitely want to make amends for losing the title to Real in the dying minutes of the 2013/14 final in Lisbon. As Simeone has mentioned, his team has overcome two world class teams in Barcelona and Bayern Munich en route to the finals and his men are more than ready to go against Real on Saturday night.
Real Madrid Team News:
Raphael Varane will miss the final and Euro 2016 with a thigh injury, while the veteran full back Alvaro Arbeloa is reported to be struggling with a knee problem.
Real Madrid are dealt a huge blow after Cristiano Ronaldo limped off the pitch during Tuesday’s training session after colliding with reserve keeper Kiko Casilla. He is expected to take the field, even though not fully fit.
Real Madrid: Predicted Line-up (4-3-3)
Navas – Marcelo, Pepe, Ramos, Carvajal – Kroos, Casemiro, Modric – Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Atletico Madrid Team News:
Diego Simeone has no players missing through injury or suspension. He might have some selection headaches as many players as pushing for a start on Saturday night.
Atletico Madrid: Predicted Line-up (4-4-2)
Oblak – Felipe Luis, Godin, Gimenez, Juanfran – Carrasco, Gabi, Koke, Niguez – Torres, Griezmann.
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid: Head-to-Head
The teams have played against each other on 54 occasions so far, Real Madrid winning in 31, Atletico 9 and 14 draws. The goal aggregate is 94-53 in favour of Real.
Since the Champions League title victory in 2013/14, Real Madrid had beaten Atletico only once in 10 meetings in all competitions. However, the only win came during the quarter finals of last year’s Champions League second leg at Santiago Bernebeu. Atletico Madrid have won in 5, drawn 4 and lost 1 of the last 10 meetings with Real Madrid.
In this season’s Spanish La Liga fixture, the teams played a 1-1 stalemate at Vicente Calderon and Atletico earned a 1-0 win at Santiago Bernebeu.
Ronaldo has scored 16 goals in this season’s Champions League so far, need 2 more goals to break his personal best of 17 goals scored during Real’s 2013/14 title winning season.
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid: Prediction
Finals are hard to predict as both teams will be charged up and giving their all on this historic occasion. Real Madrid have plenty of quality players in their squad and made a huge improvement under Zidane after stuttering in early parts of the season. They are collectively one of the best attacks in Europe at the moment, but there are still doubts in their defensive credentials.
Atletico Madrid are a side built on team cohesion and hard work. And they won’t be intimidated by their rich neighbours and their recent head-to-head record against Real is a clear evidence of this. For me, Atletico Madrid will go in as slight favourites to win the title on Saturday evening.
With Zidane and Simeone on either benches, we can expect a fierce battle. The last four meetings between the sides had witnessed under 2.5 goals, but I think we are in for a goal-feast here. The full time score after 90 minutes is expected to stay at 2-2 and may need extra time and penalties to find the winner of UEFA Champions League 2016.
Score Prediction: 2-2 at Full Time.