Champions League Final Features Clash Of Styles Between Madrid Rivals
Tomorrow’s UEFA Champions League Final will see a clash of dramatically different styles in the battle of Madrid rivals, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid. This round of the Madrid Derby will come down to the unstoppable force crashing into the immovable object.
The unstoppable force is Real Madrid’s offense. Led by the most feared player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, who holds several Champions League records, among them are most goals in a Champions League season (17) and most career Champions League goals (93), 10 more than rival Lionel Messi of Barcelona. Ronaldo possesses a rare combination of size, speed, athleticism, dribbling skills and shot making ability that makes him a nightmare for defenses. He is able to score with either foot in a variety of ways, whether off the dribble, one touch, in close, or far out, he even is an aerial threat to head the ball in due to his leaping ability. Ronaldo has scored 52 goals in 52 matches throughout all competitions this season.
Ronaldo isn’t the only threat for Los Blancos, he is joined on the attacking front by striker Karim Benzema (31 goals) and right winger Gareth Bale (20 goals). Bale is also a great setup man with 12 assists and will need to be in top form to help set up Ronaldo and Benzema for goal scoring opportunities against the stingy defense of Atlético. Only Barcelona scored more goals per match than Real but Atlético gave up the fewest goals among Europe’s top four leagues.
Atlético should have no fear going into this matchup with their hatred rivals as they have already toppled mighty Bayern Munich and Barcelona, Atlético’s defense has proved to be it’s strong point, with opponents struggling to figure out it’s 4-4-2 formation. The defense provides an arduous task for any offense to take on as Atlético has found a unique way to blend both high pressing and deep defending, hoping to use it’s next defensive prowess to set up counterattacks. Counters have accounted for 20% of Atlético’s goals this season.
Atlético’s biggest offensive threat it Antoine Griezmann who has 33 goals in 54 appearances throughout all competitions. There is a real drop off in goal production after Griezmann as Fernando Torres‘ 12 ranks second on the team. As a whole, Atlético has scored 16 goals during the Champions League, the same as Ronaldo by himself.
If Atlético is to win it’s first UEFA Champions League title, it’s defense will be the biggest reason. After allowing Bayern and Barcelona to score four goals in four games, they cannot afford to let Ronaldo and company exploit any cracks in the formation to good looks at the goal. I think Madrid’s offense is too much, and this time, the unstoppable force trumps the immovable object as I think Real Madrid claims it’s eleventh UCL title.
The Champions League Final kicks off at 2:45 EST and will take place at San Siro, Milan, Italy.
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