Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will lock horns once more to contest the 2016 UEFA Champions League final at the San Siro Stadium in Milan on Saturday night in an all-Spanish affair.
Both sides aiming to make history in Milan as Real Madrid chase a record-breaking 11th Champions League title with their neighbours, Atletico Madrid in pursuit of their first ever Champions League trophy.
Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid are favourites to clinch the title having won their previous four Champions League finals, including their 2014 triumph over Atletico Madrid in Lisbon.
On that night, Sergio Ramos was the hero when his 93rd minute header forced the game to extra-time after Diego Godin’s first half strike seemed to secure Atletico the title.
In extra-time, Los Blancos cantered to an emphatic 4-1 win with further goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo to secure ‘La Decima’, Real Madrid’s tenth European cup.
Atletico will be out for revenge and they had another impressive domestic season under Diego Simeone, finishing third in La Liga. Simeone has also guided Atleti to three major European finals in the past four seasons making his side one of the resolute teams in Europe.
Atleti are well organised and base themselves on a solid back four which can quickly revert to a blistering counter attack. Atleti have three key players in Antoine Griezmann, Fernando Torres and Koke and all have been in glistening form prior to the final having dumped out Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Quarter and Semi Final’s.
Likewise, Atleti have been steely in defence with Jan Oblak proving to be a worthy last line of defence in goal with a string of impressive displays, most notably in the semi-final against Bayern Munich where he had over 34 shots on goal and saved a Thomas Muller penalty to help send Atletico to the final. Club captain and stalwart, Diego Godin has been instrumental in defence and has led his side admirably on the pitch with numerous gritty performances.
Atletico are certainly not to be underestimated and Zinedine Zidane will be wary of the threat that their rivals hold. Real Madrid have won only one of the last ten meetings against their Madrid neighbours and the omens look promising for Diego Simeone’s men to spring a surprise.
For Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo had a fitness scare but looks likely to start for Real after limping out of training on Tuesday. The tournament’s top scorer has been in fine form this campaign in the Champions League, netting 16 goals which included a sensational hat-trick against Wolfsburg in the Quarter Final to single handedly send Real through to overturn a two goal deficit.
Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema have also been firing in attack and the Real Madrid faithful will be hoping that the potent attacking trio can fire once more in Milan.
Real Madrid have been scoring freely both domestically and in Europe this season, however they come up against a resolute Atletico Madrid who have kept 35 clean sheets this season in all competitions and only conceded 18 goals in La Liga.
It should be a fascinating tie between two top European clubs who despite both missing out on being the Spanish champions, can become the Champions of Europe on Saturday night in the famous San Siro.
(Real Madrid 4-3-3): Navas, Carvajal, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Kroos, Modric, Casemiro; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo
(Atletico Madrid 4-4-2): Oblak, Juanfran, Savic, Godin, Filipe Luis; Niguez, Gabi, Fernandez, Koke; Torres, Griezmann