REAL MADRID vs ATLETICO MADRID
A look ahead to the Champions League final at San Siro in Milan
When is the match and where can I watch it?
The match takes place at the neutral venue of San Siro in the Italian city of Milan, kicking-off at 7.45pm BST. The tie will be screened by BT Sport in the UK, who have also made the tie available on both YouTube (UK only) and their free-to-air Showcase channel. ITV will be screening highlights of the match.
It’s a big game for…
CRISTIANO RONALDO: For the greatest players on the planet it is upon these stages they must prove themselves above any other. They are also the matches in which they can cement their legend – just think of Zinedine Zidane’s winning goal in the 2002 final. Ronaldo’s great rival Lionel Messi has of late been considered the player performing on a level higher than any other – winning the 2015 Fifa Ballon d’Or prize after back-to-back wins for Ronaldo. With victory on Saturday night Ronaldo will put himself in pole position to reclaim the award when it’s next dished out. In the build-up there have been fears around Ronaldo’s fitness however he’s insisted he will be fine to play. Such is the Portuguese player’s love of this competition he would probably insist on playing even with a broken leg. He has scored a staggering 16 goals in the tournament so far – one shy of the record (set by himself) of 17. How dearly he’d love to break that.
The game in numbers…
These sides may hail from the same city but there is no doubt which is the bigger and more successful of the two. But in recent years Atletico have been the more dominant, a situation reflected by the stat that has seen Real Madrid win just two of the last 12 meetings between the sides. However, ominously for Atletico, both those wins came in the Champions League – in the 2004 final and 1-0 in the 2015 quarter-final. Real Madrid’s prowess in the Champions League is overwhelming. This will be their 14th final – 10 of which they’ve won, including the last four (1998, 2000, 2002, 2014). In contrast, this is Atletico Madrid’s third final and they’ve lost the only two they’ve appeared in so far.
Player to watch…
SAUL NIGUEZ: The Atletico Madrid midfielder has been among the most influential players in Diego Simeone’ side this season with three goals and two assists in the Champions League this term. His solo goal in the semi-final against Bayern Munich was one of this season’s greatest moments. The 21-year-old has recently found himself linked with a £54m move to Manchester United – could this be his final game for Atletico? Real Madrid must also keep a close on on Antoine Griezmann who with seven goals in the competition is Atletico Madrid’s top scorer.
Form guide (all competitions)…
REAL MADRID: WDWWWW
ATLETICO MADRID: WWWLLW
The best players who won’t be at Euro 2016
Raphael Varane (France/Real Madrid)
After picking up a thigh injury in training and being ruled out of the Champions League final, Varane’s woes have been compounded by the injury ruling him out of the the Euro’s.
Santi Cazorla (Spain/Arsenal)
After playing a pivotal role in Arsenal’s impressive start of the season, Cazorla was on the sidelines for 5 months with a knee injury. His return to action proved unable to convince Del Bosque to include him in Spain’s final squad.
Juan Mata (Spain/Manchester United)
Mata was one of United’s more consistent players this season scoring 6 goals and getting 5 assists. However, Mata, a scorer in the Euro 2012 final, will not join up with a Spain squad nearly inundated with creative central midfielders.
Christian Eriksen (Denmark/Tottenham)
A star in Spurs’ ascendency up the Premier League, Erikson and Denmark missed out on Euro qualification after coming up short in the playoff round to an Ibrahimovic-inspired Sweden.
Herinkh Mkhitaryan (Armenia/Dortmund)
Dortmund’s impressive resurgence brought with it a new star in Mkhitaryan. Now linked to Europe’s giants, the Armenian won’t have a chance to shine in France after finishing last, and winless, in their qualifying group.
Arjen Robben (Holland/Bayern Munich)
Holland’s failure to qualify for Euro 2016 will be felt no harder than by Arjen Robben. Now 32, time is not on his side, and with promising Dutch players in Quincy Promes, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Jeremain Lens, all vying for Robben’s place on the wing, we might not see him starting in Russia should Holland qualify.
Miralem Pjanić (Bosnia Herzegovina/Roma)
After another impressive season with Roma, Pjanić will be disappointed in his nations inability to overturn Wales and qualify for France. However, his nation’s failures may prove beneficial for the midfielder, as participation in the continent’s showpiece might’ve stalled a potential transfer. Roma’s star man has been linked with a big-money move to Chelsea.
Vincent Kompany (Belgium/Manchester City)
Plagued by injuries this past season, Kompany will be gutted to miss out on what many see as Belgium’s golden opportunity to compete for the trophy. The inclusion of former Man City player Dedryck Boyata to cover for Kompany, won’t comfort many Belgian fans.
Danny Welbeck (England/Arsenal)
A stunning last-ditch goal against Leicester on Valentines Day marked Welbeck’s return from nearly a year on the treatment table. After a few goals and some impressive performances marking his return, his injury against Man City will have shook the player as well as ruling him out for the rest of the year.
Marco Verratti (Italy/PSG)
Verratti endured a frustrating season as a consistent groin injury plagued him this past season. His season as well as his Euro hopes, were ended by surgery. Conte admitted his frustration with Verratti’s injury as it deals a harsh blow to Italy’s tournament chances. PSG hope that he’ll be ready for the start of next season.
Kurt Zouma (France/Chelsea)
After establishing himself as the first-choice centre-back alongside JT, Zouma suffered a horrific knee injury during a match against Man United. The strong, and surprisingly pacey, defender might prove a big loss to France.
Ilkay Gundogan (Germany/Dortmund)
Having missed out on Germany’s successful World Cup campaign, Gundogan has now been ruled out of the Euro’s after dislocating his kneecap. This latest injury setback has come on the back of a good season with Dortmund, where he started 22 games.
Aymeric Laporte (France/Athletic Bilbao)
Laporte joins the lengthening list of injured French centre-backs. Didier Deschamps will be hoping that Mangala manages to overcome his struggles in the premiership to form a strong partnership with Laurent Koscielny. Laporte broke his leg and twisted his ankle earlier this year while playing for Frances U21 team in a match against Scotland.
Claudio Marchisio (Italy/Juventus)
Conte’s central-defensive midfield woes were compounded by Marchisio’s season ending injury. A fine passer of the ball, and the engine in the heart of Juventus’ formidable midfield, Marchisio ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in a match against Palermo, ruling him out for six months.
Alan Dzagoev (Russia/CSKA Moskva)
With a lightning turn of pace and an ability to double-up as a winger and a centre-defensive mid, Dzagoev’s absence might prove fatal to Russia’s hopes of navigating a tricky group alongside England, Wales, and Slovenia. Dzagoev broke his foot in CSKA’s last match of the season where they managed to clinch the Russian League title.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 7.45pm BST
TV: Live on BT Sport Europe and BT Sport Showcase, highlights on ITV