The Madrid Battle Of Classes…C. League Final
We are witnesses to a historic moment in our existence. In the 59 years prestigious history of the European Champions league,we have experienced 5 one Country finals,the most recent ones being: AC Milan Vs. Juventus Turin (2002/2003) Manchester United Vs. Chelsea (2007/2008), but never have we had, not just two teams from the same country,but from the same City vie for this Prestigious and Lucrative European Domination.
Real Madrid take on neighbours Athletico Madrid in the 2013/2014 Champions league final scheduled for neighbouring Lisbon, Portugal.
One of the rare similarity that they share is location! (Their stadiums are just about 6 kilometers apart) but as you will discover that is about all they have in common and this could as well give us an insight to who just might get crowned Champions of Europe!
Real’s team is astronomically and expensively assembled.It has on its pay roll the two most expensive players in the history of football (Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo) and are considered a ‘bought team of stars’ by their neighbours.
Athletico’s best performer,Thibaut Courtois -the Goalkeeper – is on loan from Chelsea and most of the leading players of athletico are players that were kind of like ‘misfits or unwanted’ by other top teams. The case of David Villa,surplus to requirements at Barcelona comes to mind! the poor man’s team did i hear you say?
Real’s fan base are ‘the porsche de la creme’ of the madrid society,the rich,the blue collar workers and in fact are considered the king’s team.
Athletico’s fans are more the ‘common folks’ of society who have often difficulties making ends meet at the end of the month,materially!
The technical crew of Real Madrid boasts of,Carlo Ancellotti as Chief Coach (Ex AC Milan,Chelsea,PSG) Zinedine Zidane as assisstant Coach(Needs no introduction) just to name two.
Athletico’s coach is the modest but ever combative Diego Simeone! As a player he was a die hard no nonesense ball recuperating defensive midfielder, who is at his 7th coaching station (all relative minows as clubs,short of River Plate in Argentina) and athletico is built around his mentality and playing style :Hard work,bullying of the opponent to submission and technical ball manipulation when necessary.
AND THE WINNER WILL BE…..?
REAL…….? Most indications point to Real carrying the day.Cristiano Ronaldo, if fit, will be playing in front of his home crowd (countrymen) in Portugal,in a city where he was discovered in sporting Lisbon. Real eliminated title holders Bayern Munich in style,are rested and had a relatively relaxed attitude to the last two league games of the season prior to this!
In Gareth Bale they have an exceptional lightening striker and most of it’s stars are set to tighten their grip on their first team spots,for their qualified nations come the next world cup in Brazil,by a convincing performance in probably the most watched game of the year so far! Real players are not going to be short of Motivation.
A win and Real get their most sought after 10th Champions League trophy which they have sought after for 12 years!
However they are set to play this final without influential midfielder Xavi Alonso(suspended) Cristiano ronaldo not a 100% fit after several muscular scares in the last weeks,a technical crew set to disperse with Zidane set to leave to coach Bordeaux in France etc
The dip in form since a month now that saw them unceremoniously let the la Liga league title slip off their grips after losses to lowly classed teams and some awful defending!
ATHLETICO…….? They were crowned Spanish Champions for the first time in 19 Years and most specialists feel it was more than deserved. In a league that ‘houses’ the two legends: Lionel Messi and Ronaldo in two different opposing teams (Barcelona And Real) that alone is an achievement to be applauded and most of all, acknowledged.
On the last and title decisive encounter Vs Barcelona,at the Nou Camp,away from home,Athletico lost,just after 20 minutes of play Diego Costa and Arda Turan To injuries. Diego scored 27 goals this campaign and Turan has been responsible for orchestrating Athletico’s best moves all season. Against all unlikely odds they came back from a goal down to draw and Claim their first title in commanding style.
After a 45 months absence from the champions league,during which period they conquered the UEFA Europa Liga Twice,Athletico are the only unbeaten team as they marched on to the Finals,beating Barcelona and Chelsea along the way!
Don’t be deceived to think that the possible absence of Diego Costa and Turan spells guaranteed doom for Athletico. There is no way you get to the final of the Champions league unbeaten,win your domestic marathon League if you do not have a more than solid reserve bench!
The fact that Athletico played more than 70 minutes of the most important and decisive game of the year away from home at Barcelona’s Nou camp, without their two most influential players and still managed to come back from a goal down to draw and be crowned champions tells you that this team is definitely one of the best two teams in the world Today! If Not the best. they seem to have champions written all over them!
On the other hand Make no illusions about it,this is an exceptional Real Madrid side that Athletico will be coming against.They are technical and tactically strong,rippedf Title favourites and holders,Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich into shreds.
Furthermore, with the world’s best player in it’s ranks (CR7) they are clear favorites.Should Real play at their best they would be unstoppable. Question is: Will Athletico allow them to ?