Champions League Final preview – Real Madrid v Atlético

Champions League Final preview – Real Madrid v Atlético at the San Siro, Milan, 28 May 2016 – features all you need to know before the showpiece final for the biggest prize in world club football.

Will Ronaldo be fit to play? Can Cristiano break even more records? Will Zidane make history or can Simeone’s men succeed and gain revenge for the 2014 final defeat against Real? What’s the head-to-head record between the clubs? What about their European pedigree?

REAL MADRID LEAD THE LIST

Real Madrid are the most successful club in UEFA Champions League history and are seeking La Undecima – their 11th UCL title.

No other club in Europe gets near to their haul of European Cups/Champions League titles – especially not city rivals Atlético who hope it will be a case of third time lucky in Milan.

Two years ago, Atlético were mere seconds away from winning the trophy for the first time in their history – only to see Real grab an equaliser on 92 minutes 48 seconds to force extra time and humiliate their rivals 4-1.

Forty years previously Bayern Munich denied them glory – equalising with just 20 seconds of extra time remaining in the 1974 final in Brussels. In the replay, two days later, Bayern ravaged Atlético 4-0 and became the first Bundesliga club to win the European Cup.

REAL v ATLETICO HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD

Real v Atlético has been played out 202 times in Spanish competitions – Madrid have won 102, Atlético 51 and there have been 49 draws.

Madrid have not beaten Atlético since the 2014 UCL final – they’ve played eight times since and Atlético have won five.

Atlético inflicted Zinedine Zidane’s first defeat as Real coach when Antoine Griezmann struck at the Bernabéu in February.

They have faced each other in five Copa del Rey finals – Atlético have won four. Madrid’s only success was in 1975, on penalties.

REAL AND ATLETICO’s EUROPEAN PEDIGREE

Real Madrid have played in 13 European Cup/Champions League finals, winning ten.

They have also won the UEFA Cup and the Super Cup twice.

This will be Real’s 27th EUFA final.

Madrid’s all time record in Europe against Spanish opposition is L3 D5 W10 – and they’ve beaten their countrymen in the last five such fixtures.

Atlético have played in two European Cup/Champions League finals, losing both.

They have won the Europa League twice, the Cup Winners Cup and the EUFA Super Cup twice.

If Atlético win they’ll become the 23rd club to claim the title.

They’ve faced Spanish teams 13 times in Europe – winning seven, losing three.

ATLETICO’s ROAD TO THE FINAL

Atlético’s prowess to reach the final has impressed many – with the top soccer tipsters reminding of victories over favourites Barcelona and Bayern Munich en route to Milan.

Real Madrid are just another big name for Diego Simeone’s men who themselves are carving out a reputation to be respected among Europe’s elite.

Two years ago Atlético went into the Champions League final having dealt with the distractions of parading the La Liga title around Madrid on an open bus. This time they’ve had a full two weeks to prepare.

REAL MADRID’s ROUTE TO MILAN

Real enjoyed an easier route to the final with wins over Wolfsburg and Manchester City in the latter stages. They’ve scored 27 goals and conceded only five in this season’s competition, notching up ten clean sheets to record nine wins, two draws and only one defeat.

In contrast, Atlético’s record is W6 D3 L3 and they’ve not won away from home since the group stages.

ZIDANE THE MAN?

Zidane has only been on the job six months but the man who scored the winner for Madrid in the 2002 final could become only the seventh man in history to win the prize as both player and coach.

Simeone will become only the third non-European – and third Argentinean – to win as a coach should Atlético prevail.  In the last ten games he’s faced Madrid as boss, Simeone has lost only once – overall record is W7 D5 L7.

Zidane never lost to Atlético as a player for Madrid – but he’s never beat them as a coach, having lost 0-1 in La Liga. But he has amassed the most points of any Madrid coach in history after 20 games in La Liga – P20 W17 D2 L1.

RONALDO THE RECORD MAKER

Ronaldo can set a new record by becoming the first ever player to score in three finals, having achieved the feat with Manchester United and Madrid. Tipsters may fancy him to do it – and set yet another record – given the competition’s all-time leading scorer has already banged in 16 Champions League goals, leaving him just one short of the record he set in 2013-14 for the most number of goals in a European Cup campaign.

This season Ronaldo became the first ever player to score 50 or more club goals for the sixth season in a row. His 35 goals in La Liga made him the first ever Madrid player to register 30 or more in six straight seasons.

Cristiano has scored 15 in 24 games against Atlético. He was also sent off against them in Madrid’s 2013 Copa del Rey defeat.

RONALDO WILL BE FIT FOR THE FINAL

Ronaldo took a knock in midweek training and caused fans, pundits, punters and tipsters to take a big collective breath and an anxious wait to hear if the Portuguese superstar will be fit for the final.

The competition’s record goal scorer required attention from Real’s medical staff and angrily threw down a water bottle as he walked alone off the pitch.

Zidane was quick to reassure fans by stating his star man would be fully fit to face Atlético, and Ronaldo backed that up by saying: “It was just a scare. I got a dead leg but I will be fine in two days. I think I will arrive at this game in better shape [than two years ago].”

Cristiano continued. “I have been getting better. I had a small problem, which is normal after being the player who played the most minutes. This is the season I have played the most but, apart from this small problem in training [today], I am at my best level.”

By: Joe Cahal

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