This year’s Champions League finals will take place Saturday 24 May. This final match should be particularly interesting because, for the first time in the history of the contest, there will be two clubs from the same city competing against each other: Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. The match will take place in the Portuguese capital Lisbon in the stadium Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica. For the Portuguese capital this will be the first European Cup final since 1967. Back then the Celtic FC’s “Lisbon Lions” overcame FC Internazionale Milano 2:1.
Atletico Madrid managed to play its way into the finals by beating Chelsea in the semi-finals. Before that the Spanish team had to defeat Milan and Barcelona, which they did without any problems. From the moment the semi-finals started, Atletico managed to control the game in a very mature way, which led to a 3:1 victory for the Spanish team.
Real Madrid faced Bayern Munich in the semi-finals leading up to the coming finals. The Spanish team practically pulverised their German rivals, especially during the first half of the match. Every attack seemed to turn into a goal and it was not long before the German team crumbled. Rather than two international top teams, there only seemed to be one present and that was Real Madrid. In the end, Real Madrid took home a 4:0 victory and Bayern had to return home shamefully defeated. Real Madrid’s superstar Cristiano Ronaldo gives credit to Real’s Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti:
“He changed everything, especially the mentality of the players.”
The excitement for the coming match is great and especially as Cristiano Ronaldo can’t wait for the finals. He has won the Champions League trophy before in 2008 when he was still playing for Manchester United, but this year the finals will take place in his home country Portugal.
“My dream is to win the Champions League in Lisbon in my country, so we work hard, we’re going to work hard to win this amazing trophy.”
For him, it is a kind of homecoming as he started his football career with Sporting Lisbon.
Not all of Real Madrid’s players are as enthusiastic as Cristiano Ronaldo, though. Midfielder Xabi Alonso is fuming because three yellow cards ban him from the finals. With his tackle against Bastian Schweinsteiger, Alonso left referee Pedro Proenca little choice – the third yellow card of the contest sealed his fate. Alonso didn’t try to hide that he was not in the least bit impressed:
“The rule is not fair at all – because you are playing for 13 games, three yellow cards is more than easy to be shown, it needs to be changed“.
He might not like the rules but for now Real Madrid will have to face Atletico without him. Alonso might find solace in the fact that he has won the Champions League before in 2005 when he was playing for Liverpool.
Benzema of course is the only Frenchman and is almost guaranteed to start for Real Madrid.