The intensity for the Champions League final at the San Siro could only be higher if Real Madrid played against Barcelona. Even though this isn’t El Clasico, it is a heck of a rivalry between Los Blancos and their Madrid rivals, Atletico Madrid. It isn’t often that we see crosstown rivals focused at the center of the soccer universe, but for one day in Milan, all eyes across Europe will be focused on the best Madrid has to offer.
UEFA Champions League Final Odds to Win
Real Madrid -140
Atletico Madrid +120
(Odds courtesy Bookmaker.eu)
History will tell you that Real Madrid is the big brother of this rivalry. Los Galacticos have won La Liga 32 times, the Copa del Rey 19 times and the Champions League 10 times. Atletico Madrid has won La Liga just once since 1996 and 10 times in its history, while it is also a 10-time Copa del Rey winner. This is just the third time that Atletico Madrid has ever been in the Champions League Final, the most recent being in 2014. The Atleti have never won it.
The head-to-head rivalry between these two features Real Madrid holding a 107-51-54 advantage. The two times these two met each other in the Champions League, it’s been all about Los Galacticos. They won the Champions League Final in 2014 at the Estadio da Luz 4-1, and the very next year, they eliminated their crosstown rivals in the last eight 1-0 on aggregate over 180 minutes.
Can Atletico Madrid Be Stopped?
This year, though, the tide shifted just a bit. Atletico Madrid has itself a 1-1-0 record in two matches against its hated rival, including winning 1-0 at the Bernabeu just a handful of weeks ago. The Atletico Madrid odds have never looked better.
If there were ever a time for Atletico Madrid to strike, this would be it. Diego Simeone’s side is finally getting some goals, which is the problem that has plagued the tactical side for years and years. Antoine Griezmann has been a thorn in the side of many in the Champions League this year, and Fernando Torres has made himself a real factor instead of a mere spectator who only occasionally gets off the bench. We wouldn’t be surprised if he was inserted into the starting lineup to give the Atleti a little more of a boost.
What Are Real Madrid’s Odds This Season?
Furthermore, Real Madrid is not without its warts. The team had a relatively easy jaunt to get into the 2016 Champions League Final, drawing Wolfsburg and Manchester City in the last two rounds. Neither fixture was all that easy to get through, especially after the team fell behind 2-0 in Germany to Wolfsburg, a result which had to be overturned on Spanish soil.
Cristiano Ronaldo is playing, but he’s clearly not 100 percent and was nowhere to be found against Man City in the second leg of the semifinals last week. Sure, Gareth Bale is in fine form, but his history on the biggest stage isn’t exactly pristine. Keylor Navas has finally looked human in net after being impossible to beat in the first three months of this competition.
Ronaldo out of morning training session pic.twitter.com/UVbpXiY7ip
— Sid Lowe (@sidlowe) May 24, 2016
Should You Put Your Money on Los Blancos?
Under normal circumstances, Real Madrid would probably be around an even money favorite to win the Champions League inside of 90 minutes. Instead, Los Galacticos are favored within soccer betting, yet at a relatively small margin of +154. The common thought suggests there could easily be extra time at the San Siro, as this fixture almost seems deserving of an extra half hour as well as perhaps penalties beyond.
We’re not ones to bet against the history of Real Madrid, though. On the biggest stage, Atletico Madrid has always come up short against its big brothers, and this might not be an exception. CR7 has had a few weeks to get his leg problems sorted out, and if he’s in tip top form, he should be able to break through against this stout defense to give Real Madrid the narrowest of victories in the biggest match of the year.
The 2016 Champions League Final will take place on Saturday, May 28 at the San Siro in Milan. The match kicks off at 2:45 p.m. ET and can be seen in the United States on FOX.
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