Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid in Champions League Final is a Match for the Ages
Last year’s UEFA Champions League Final was a dramatic all-German affair between superpower Bayern Munich and rival Borussia Dortmund. In 2014, the marquee matchup of club soccer will feature an all-Spanish (in fact all-Madrid) final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, who both earned remarkable victories this past week in the tournament’s semifinals. And while last year’s final saw the bigger club of Bayern Munich assert their control and dominance with a victory, could this latest edition mark a dramatic upset for the lesser side, Atletico?
Atletico Madrid has long since been the weaker team of Madrid soccer. Since the two sides began playing in the early 1920’s, Real Madrid has earned 85 wins to Atletico’s 36. The clubs have drawn 33 times. In essence, this has generally been a one-sided relationship. But when the sides square off on Saturday, May the 24th in Lisbon, Portugal, they will be playing for higher stakes than ever before in either of their histories! This game is bigger than any La Liga meeting, bigger than any Copa Del Rey match, and could well be the most important game in both clubs’ history. Should Atletico Madrid conquer their big-spending rivals, the players would be immortalized in club lore, for the winner of this match will hold all the bragging rights for decades to come.
And while many automatically assume that Real Madrid is the heavy favorite due simply the crest on their shirts and the famous players on their team, I wouldn’t count Atletico out just yet! Atletico Madrid is currently enjoying one of their best seasons of all time and sit on top of the La Liga table with just 3 games to go. They could soon earn their first Spanish league title since 1996, and you had better believe that they could go all the way in the Champions League too! Along the way to this final, Atletico has beaten AC Milan, Chelsea, and fellow Spanish rivals Barcelona! Running through a gauntlet of fixtures such as that is no easy feat.
Atletico Madrid has fortunately amassed a side that plays beyond themselves each and every game. Manager Diego Simeone must be highly praised for working magic with this side that includes great players like Arda Turan, Raul Garcia, Koke, and Adrian Lopez. But the shining beacon of this side lies within their top rated striker Diego Costa. Just reaching his peak abilities, Costa has notched 36 goals this season and is widely tipped to be on the move to a big-spending club this summer. In years past, Atletico Madrid has seen a big group of high-profile strikers depart the team before reaching their potential. Prominent departures included Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero, and Radamel Falcao. Powerful, confident, and quick, Costa is a monstrous player, and Atletico Madrid could taste the ultimate glory before his inevitable departure! Who knows, a Champions League and La Liga double might just convince the player to stick around for a while!
But standing in their way is the great might of Real Madrid; Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos, and Karim Benzema all make up one of the world’s most talented soccer teams. Is there any hope for Atletico in this matchup for the ages? As we saw last season, the big boys of Bayern Munich dispatched of their German rivals Borussia Dortmund to put any such argument to bed. But hey, Atletico did beat Madrid 1-0 in a match last fall… But no matter what happens in this game, I feel that we should certainly expect an incredible game of soccer. These are two teams that hate each other and will be desperate to win. With world class talent and a derby atmosphere, expect the 2014 Champions League Final to be one of the biggest soccer games you’ll ever see!