This Saturday, May 24, 2014, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid will measure forces at Estádio da Luz in Lisbon for the UEFA Champions League Final. After an exhausting long tournament, both sides will need to put up their best performances if they want to be able to expose their opponents’ frailties and win the clash.
After claiming La Liga’s title last weekend at the mythical Camp Nou against Barcelona, Atlético Madrid will travel to Lisbon to play their second “final” in just eight days. On Saturday, they hope to add the most important trophy of European football to their collection, at the end of a season that could turn out to be historical for the Colchoneros. Diego Simeone’s side could become the seventh team in the history of the UEFA Champions League to end the competition without a single defeat, after reaching the final with only six goals conceded.
Atléti’s head coach, Diego “El Cholo” Simeone told the media this week that his team still have both feet on the ground and that they still maintain the exact same spirit that helped them to claim the UEFA Europa League and the European Super Cup back in 2012. He highlighted his side’s humbleness and hard work as the keys for the Atlético’s recent success, while he also mentioned the different idiosyncrasies that separate both teams and nurture the historical rivalry between these two football giants from Madrid.
For the Lisbon match, the charismatic Argentinean head coach is not yet certain if he will be able to count on two of his most important players: Diego Costa and Arda Turan. Both the Spanish Brazilian-born footballer and the versatile Turkish midfielder participated in last Thursday’s training session with their teammates, but it is yet uncertain if they will be able to play against Los Blancos.
As for Real Madrid, the Lisbon match represents the long sought possibility of claiming La Decima, the tenth UEFA Champions League trophy on their impressive history at European football.
In a time where there is some speculation surrounding Carlo Ancelotti’s future at Real Madrid, particularly after the disappointing last matches at the La Liga’s by Los Blancos, next Saturday’s match might pose a good opportunity for the Italian manager to prove to pundits that he knows what he is doing and that he has a plan for the future of the Spanish football giants.
Ancelotti brought on a new tactical culture to Real Madrid this season, as the team abandoned José Mourinho’s laboured 4-2-3-1 and embarked on a hybrid 4-3-3 system with a tremendously lethal attacking approach but with some holes on the defence wall. To compensate for that frailty, the Italian head coach implemented a 4-4-2 style on his team’s defensive movements, which allows them to close the gap between lines effectively and to quickly run into the counter-attack.
For the Lisbon’s clash next Saturday, Carlo Ancelotti will not be able to count on the contribution of the experienced defensive midfielder Xabi Alonso, who is suspended, and he is still not certain about the availability of Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe, and Benzema, who are still recovering from their recent respective injuries.
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid Projected Lineups
Real Madrid (4-3-3) = Casillas – Carvajal – Pepe – Sergio Ramos – Coentrão – Modric – Isco – Bale – Di Maria – Ronaldo – Benzema
Atlético Madrid (4-4-2) = Courtois – Juanfran – Miranda – Godín – Filipe Luis – Tiago – Gabi – Koke – Raúl Garcia – David Villa – Diego Costa
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid Prediction
For this Saturday’s match there are no favorites. The exchange of pleasantries that took place between Sergio Ramos and Juanfran over the week proves that both sides fear each other and that, above all else, there is a great deal of respect between them, which runs hand-in-hand with an intense rivalry. This being said, the most likely outcome is 2-1 for Atlético Madrid.
Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid TV Schedule
The Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid match will be televised in the USA at 11:45 PM Pacific on FOX.