Real Madrid v Atlético Madrid Live Commentary, 28/05/2016

PEN 5 - 3
1 - 1
Sergio Ramos (15)
Y. Carrasco (79)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
(FT 1 - 1)


That's all for our live coverage of the 2015/16 Champions League final from the San Siro in Milan. Thanks for following along. Goodbye!
These Atletico players can't be consoled as they roll out the red carpet for their rivals. It's incredibly harsh on Simeone's side, who for the second time in three years are denied their first taste of European glory at the hands of their bitter rivals.
And after a match in which he did precious little, it's Cristiano Ronaldo who steals the headlines for his winning penalty. It's irony in its purest form.
FULL-TIME: REAL MADRID 1-1 ATLETICO (5-3 pens). Ronaldo's penalty wins the Champions League for Los Blancos at the end of another spectacle that is football theatre. This sport can be a cruel mistress at times, and Juanfran will understand that in every sense of the word tonight as his missed penalty proves decisive as Real Madrid add another jewel to their crown.
Cristiano Ronaldo
Penalty Goal
Real Madrid
REAL MADRID WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! Cristiano Ronaldo makes it five-for-five from the spot and Zidane's side are European champions of 2015/16!
Sergio Ramos
Penalty Goal
Real Madrid
RAMOS HAS ANOTHER! In a near replica to Bale's penalty, a hesitation in the run up precedes a deft spot-kick into the bottom corner.
Penalty Miss
Atlético Madrid
HEARTBREAK FOR JUANFRAN! The first miss of the shoot-out as Juanfran, who has had such a sensational match, rattles his penalty off the woodwork!
Penalty Goal
Atlético Madrid
NO ONE CAN MISS! It's a clinic in how to take a penalty! Saul strikes it beautifully, sending Navas the wrong way.
G. Bale
Penalty Goal
Real Madrid
BALE MAKES NO MISTAKE! Deception is his best friend as he gives Oblak the eyes, before placing it into the corner.
Penalty Goal
Atlético Madrid
THE BEST OF THE LOT! The skipper Gabi sends that crashing into the back of the net!
Penalty Goal
Real Madrid
EXQUISITE PLACEMENT! Oblak guesses right, but there's no way he was getting to that gem of a spot-kick from Marcelo!
Lucas Vázquez
Penalty Goal
Real Madrid
REAL TAKE THE EARLY LEAD! Lucas Vazquez freezes Oblak with his run up and coolly slots the ball into the bottom corner!
A. Griezmann
Penalty Goal
Atlético Madrid
REDEMPTION FOR GRIEZMANN! The Frenchman opts to go for power again, but this time he finds the ceiling of the net, sending Navas the wrong way.
Real Madrid's shoot-out record in UEFA competition is one win, two losses. Atletico have won twice and lost three, though they did triumph on penalties in the last-16 against Dutch champions PSV.
A fair and seemingly harmless coming together between Pepe and Carrasco turns sour as a stray hand from the Belgian catches the defender, barely, on the cheek. Pepe promptly starts his crying again, acting as though Mike Tyson just landed a right hook. Clattenburg shakes his head in disgust, but he doesn't book the defender as he's already on a yellow.
There will be two minutes of time added on at the end of this match, as penalties await...
ONE LUCAS DENIES THE OTHER! A cleverly worked move from Real, their best of the extra-time, sees Lucas Vazquez teed up inside the area, but he hesitates for a second which allows Lucas Hernandez to get across and block the effort!
After all the delay and build-up, Ronaldo smashes a hopeless free-kick into the wall as Atletico clear their line without any trouble.
T. Partey
Atlético Madrid
It's Thomas Partey, who only made his La Liga debut a few months ago, that comes on to replace the injured Koke.
The stretcher has come out to escort Koke, who can't get back on his feet, off the pitch. Meanwhile, Ramos and Juanfran, soon to be Spain team-mates, are going at it on the side. They're heated over something, which prompts Godin and Bale to intervene, before cooler heads prevail.
A handball from Torres gifts Real Madrid a free-kick in the attacking half. They'll have to wait to take it, however, as Koke goes down in obvious pain. He's suffering from a cramp, and it may be enough to force him off for the remainder of this match! What a blow that would be.
Yellow Card
Real Madrid
Pepe takes a cynical hack at Gabi, after the Atletico midfielder had side-stepped his original challenge, and his name goes into the referee's book. He's a bit of a lucky boy not to already be on a yellow.
L. Hernández
Filipe Luís
Atlético Madrid
It looks like Simeone's hand will be forced after all! Filipe Luis has picked up a knock and won't be able to continue. Thomas Partey was originally up and it looked like he was going to be the one to replace him, but instead it's young defender Lucas Hernandez who gets the nod!
It doesn't seem like Simeone will use his final two substitutions and that's probably best for Atletico at this point. At such a late venture of the match, it's hard for the player coming on to get up to the same intensity level as everyone else, who have been switched on for the last two hours.
15 MINUTES OF PLAY REMAIN! And they're underway...
The players head over to the touchline to grab a deserved drink and a stretch. Bale, who cramped up towards the end of that half, is getting a lot of attention from the training staff. This is a brief break, however, so we should be back underway momentarily.
Griezmann peels off his marker at the far post following a corner, and opts to go for the spectacular. His ambitious bicycle-kick sails over the bar, however, and that brings an end to this first half of extra-time.
FEARLESS DEFENDING! Isco produces a deft touch to tee up Bale for a shooting chance atop the area. The Welshman has Atletico hearts in their throats as he lets fly, but Savic comes soaring in and flings himself in front of the venomous strike to block it aside! Truly sensational!
Where does he get all his energy?! Juanfran hasn't stopped sprinting since the opening kick-off, and he's continuing to wreak havoc on this Real defence with his overlapping runs. The 31-year-old gets on the end of another delightful move and wins Atletico a corner - though it comes to nothing.
Important intervention from Casemiro! Excellent reading of the play there from the Brazilian, who scampers across to cut off a delightful run from Juanfran that saw the right-back past Modric and into the area.
Lovely interplay from Atletico in attack, as nearly everyone gets a touch on the ball as they pass their way around this Real side. Tired legs may indeed be starting to creep in, but Atletico aren't the ones showing it - and they have two substitutions left still.
Poor from Ronaldo! That was a great chance for the forward to stamp his authority on the match, something he's yet to do. It plays into his strength as he gets on the end of a corner-kick, but times his jump all wrong as he can't test Oblak. He looks to the sky, knowing he's missed his chance.
Yellow Card
Real Madrid
He's at it again! The pace of Carrasco is causing all sorts of problems for Real, as Danilo is the latest to pull him to ground to stop a threatening break. He's booked accordingly, but Real need to come up with an answer for the questions being posed by the Belgian.
Well that was more than a bit awkward for Oblak! Casemiro's strike from atop the area is hit straight at him, but it takes a weird bounce, proving to come in at an awkward height as he collects a bit unconvincingly.
It was Real Madrid who carried the momentum of their equaliser through to extra-time on that night. Will we see them assert their authority again this evening in the extra period, or will Atletico continue the role reversal which is unfolding before our eyes?
Like we saw two years ago, Real Madrid and Atletico are heading to extra-time in the Champions League final. The script is reversed this time, however. It was a late equaliser from Ramos which saw the Blancos send the game beyond the 90 on that night in Lisbon, while Atletico produced the comeback tonight through Carrasco, after Griezmann missed a penalty just minutes into the second half.
Yellow Card
Atlético Madrid
Gabi is shown a yellow card of his own for his protests, asking for Ramos to be sent off. He waves his finger in the face of Clattenburg and that was never going to go unpunished.
Sergio Ramos
Yellow Card
Real Madrid
CONTROVERSY STRIKES AGAIN! An incredibly cynical foul from Ramos who hacks Carrasco to ground to stop a dangerous looking Atletico attack after being cleanly beaten for pace by the Belgian. He picks up a yellow card, much to the dismay of the Atletico players.
This second half has made for some compelling viewing, and it's looking like we're surely going to be given the gift of another 30 minutes now. Both teams are cautiously approaching this stoppage time, not wanting to concede what would be a soul-crushing goal in the dying embers.
There will be three minutes added on at the end of this first half. Three minutes for a hero to rise from the ashes, or we're heading for extra-time.
Oblak manages to claim a dangerous looking cross into the area, which bounced straight up in the air in the danger area after taking a hearty deflection. Danger averted for Atletico, who curb Real's hopes of getting on the ascendency.
The tempo is slowing a bt, with the midfield third growing increasingly congested as we approach the 90th minute. We're heading for another 30 minutes at the San Siro as things stand, which was exactly the case when these sides met two years ago in the final in Lisbon.
BALE CAN'T CONVERT! Real win a corner, and Oblak is indecisive in coming for it. That allows Bale, who has flourished in the air tonight, to pounce on it and head for goal. Pepe's presence seemed to put him off a bit, however, as the Welshman heads over the bar!
What was one weakening by the minute, is now tighter than ever! Atletico's grip on the title, that is, appears stronger than ever as they play through these final minutes of the 90 with momentum firmly on their side. Real are starting to fight back, but they're lacking ingenuity.
It's shaping up to be a finish for the ages now! Atletico, buoyed by their parity restoring goal, are back on the front foot and looking for more! They're enjoying the bulk of possession as Real look increasingly fatigued - and Zidane is out of substitutions!
Atlético Madrid
It was the most delightful of crosses from Juanfran who took that beautifully with his first touch.
Y. Carrasco
Atlético Madrid
ATLETICO EXORCISE THEIR DEMONS! A delicious scoop over the top from Gabi sends Juanfran through, and he picks out an equally sumptuous first-time cross for Carrasco. The Belgian gets in front of Lucas and slots it home from in close! We're back on level terms in Milan as extra-time beckons at the San Siro!
Yellow Card
Real Madrid
Casemiro is issued a yellow card for a characteristically hard challenge.
As figures to be the case, Real Madrid are going to get the opportunities over the final 10 minutes on the counter, with Atletico forced to send bodies forward. Ronaldo is teed up for a shot from atop the area, but bounces a rather disappointing effort straight at Oblak.
Lucas Vázquez
K. Benzema
Real Madrid
Indeed it is Lucas who enters the fray, and to no real surprise it's Benzema who is being replaced. He's had a tough night, the striker.
Real Madrid are dropping dangerously deep in defence as they set-up for an Atletico onslaught. They've prepared their third and final change, and it looks like academy graduate Lucas Vazquez is going to be the one to come on.
Pepe is at it again! The defender is issued a warning by Clattenburg for a laughable display of poor sportsmanship as he winces and embellishes on the ground after Luis offered him an apologetic hand following a foul. Pepe acts as if he's been slapped in the face and the referee is having none of it.
T. Kroos
Real Madrid
Toni Kroos goes off to a loud ovation from the Real Madrid supporters, set to be replaced by Isco for the final 20 minutes or so.
WAS THAT THE OPPORTUNITY?! A glorious chance for Real to pull away as Atletico are caught on the break for the first time. Benzema is sprung behind the defence and into the area, but Oblak makes himself big as the Frenchman pounds a shot straight at him!
Bale can't produce the magic required this time, as his left-footed strike from the subsequent free-kick hits off a defender in the wall and sails behind for a corner. Approaching the final 20 minutes now and, despite Real holding the slight advantage on the scoreboard, it's very much in the balance.
Ronaldo, another man who has struggled to get involved tonight, deceives Godin to win a free-kick which he was looking for the whole time. It's clever play from the Portuguese forward and a great chance for Real to follow.
Real Madrid enjoy their first prolonged spell in this second half where they aren't coming under Atletico pressure. They're creating precious little in possession, however, as they search for a second goal that would very much loosen Atletico's grasp on the trophy.
As the old saying goes, “no matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.” Atletico have endured more than enough darkness in European finals to date - is there a light waiting for them at some point in this second half?
Fernando Torres
Yellow Card
Atlético Madrid
Torres kicks out at the ball and winds up making contact only with the leg of Ramos. There's little argument for him to make here as Clattenburg shows him a yellow card.
CLOSER AND CLOSER THEY COME! Simeone leads the rallying cry from the touchline as Atletico inch their way towards an equaliser! Carrasco's cross is whipped in with pace where Saul is on hand to meet it with a remarkable volley, but he slices it just beyond the far stick with Navas beaten!
EXCELLENT EFFORT! Atletico are wasting no time on the front foot, sending everything into the area through the air. A wayward clearance from Pepe keeps momentum alive for Simeone's side, and Koke dangerously smashes a half-volley onto the roof of the net from an awkward angle.
INCHES AWAY! A scramble ensues following a corner, with the ball falling for Savic at the near post. The centre-half is caught a bit off balance as he lashes wildly at it, sending it just beyond the frame of the goal! It crashes into the side netting, with some Atletico fans celebrating what they thought was the equaliser!
Atletico continue on the ascendency, putting the missed penalty in the rear-view mirror. They're getting on with proceedings and there's no other way for them to go about it. These are proving to be some timid moments for the Real defence.
Real Madrid
Somber moments out on the pitch as Carvajal is in tears, having to limp off the pitch here, set to be replaced after picking up an injury. A sympathetic applause echoes through the San Siro. You just hate to see that. Dailo replaces him in a like-for-like change.
What a start this has been to the second half in Milan, after an opening 45 minutes that proved to be largely slow and stunted. We may have a classic on our hands after all!
A. Griezmann
Penalty Miss
Atlético Madrid
ATLETICO HEARTS BROKEN! Griezmann cannons his penalty off the underside of the bar and it stays out! Real Madrid have been handed a lifeline, as Atletico still have it all to do now!
K. Navas
Yellow Card
Real Madrid
Navas is booked for what appears to be dissent.
Torres lunges in front of Pepe to get on the end of an intricate pass from Griezmann, and he's bundled to ground by Pepe! Clattenburg has a look and doesn't hesitate in pointing to the spot!
CONTROVERSY STRIKES INSIDE A MINUTE OF THIS SECOND HALF! Atletico are awarded a penalty! Torres has been invisible thus far, but in the blink of an eye, he makes all the difference!
Y. Carrasco
A. Fernández
Atlético Madrid
Carrasco is brought on for the second half, but it's Augusto who gives way for him. The midfielder was more than capable in the first half, but with his creative impact lacking and Atletico trailing, it's something of a necessary switch.
Torres has been as ineffective as one can be, which could prompt Simeone to turn to the enigmatic Belgian forward Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco. His pace and creativity could be the spark Atletico need. Meanwhile, Lucas Vazquez or Jese could see second-half action for Real Madrid, with Benzema failing to produce the runs off the ball that are required to open up space in the final third.
Two of the game's strikers have been very much second best after 45 minutes, with Fernando Torres and Karim Benzema struggling to influence play. We could see both of them replaced before this one is over.
It was the Rojiblancos who lead at the break in Lisbon two years ago, and we all know how that turned out, so you're going to want to stick around for this finely poised second half at the San Siro!
Skipper Sergio Ramos has Real Madrid ahead at the break, opening the scoring not long after Jan Oblak produced a remarkable save to deny Casemiro. Zidane's side were very much in control for the first half-hour, but they were made to look human in the final 15 minutes as Atletico grew in stature in a big way, taking the game to their rivals.
There will be one minute added on at the end of this first half in Milan.
The bulk of Real's attacking play has come down the right-hand side, as they seem intent on avoiding Juanfran and Godin. There's been very little of note from them going forward, however, hardly seeing much of the ball in the Atletico end in the last 10 minutes or so.
Real have found their way out, with Modric's ability to dribble through tight spaces proving vital in providing them with a bit of respite. Nonetheless, that spell should remind Atletico that their opponents are beatable, far from the monster they seemed to be up against in the early going.
It may have taken a while, but confidence has really crept into this Atletico side. They're committing more men forward without hesitation and it's seen Real get hemmed back a bit here. There's still just over five minutes left before the break, so Zidane's side need to find their way out here and avoid what's shaping up to be a very tense conclusion to the first half.
STUNNING HIT AND EQUALLY IMPRESSIVE SAVE! Gabi chips a wonderful ball over the top to pick out Griezmann behind the defence, and he makes sublime contact with a volley that Navas somehow reacts quickly enough to keep out! The offside flag goes up, so it wouldn't have counted anyways, but that's been their best sight of goal thus far.
NOT A BAD EFFORT! Between these lulls in play, Atletico are starting to find some consistency. Koke picks out a peach of a pass to find Griezmann in attack, and the Frenchman sends a cheeky chip towards goal. It looks a good effort, but lacks the height in the end as Navas makes a straightforward stop.
A third of the game is in the books now, and it really has flown by. It almost feels like Atletico are still trying to get a feel for the match, which is hardly going to make Simeone happy. There's a sense of indecisiveness when they're on the ball, which is only just starting to make itself scarce.
BETTER FROM ATLETICO! Koke is proving the creative catalyst for his side on the front foot, and he's starting to see more of the ball as he negotiates some decent space for himself in the centre. He floats an inviting cross towards the far post for Godin, but it just eludes the head of the centre-half as it drifts behind for a goal-kick.
Torres, who claimed this is the biggest game of his career, has been a spectator up to this point. Griezmann is the one dropping deeper to get on the ball and try to link play, leaving Torres stranded up top with nothing but white Real Madrid shirts for company.
There's a sense of sharpness to this Real side that seems to be lacking in the Atletico team. It's been the difference so far, especially with Zidane's side dominating possession - though Atletico won't worry much about that as they're more comfortable sitting back and playing on the counter.
HE'S SKIED IT! The best move of the night for Atletico goes begging following a strong run down the left from Luis on the overlap. The left-back's cross is knocked into the path of Juanfran atop the area, but he smashes a first-time strike into row Z!
Real Madrid are so assured at the moment, and have been throughout this first half. There's a real sense of calm about them whether or not they're on the ball, and Atletico's slight reluctance to press high up the pitch has made it all the more easy for them.
Where Atletico tend to excel is on the counter. When they break, they're a joy to behold. Zidane is clearly aware of that as his side have set up shape to ensure they won't be caught short in numbers at the back, and the Rojiblancos are struggling to find the equation to the problem at hand.
Simeone's side have responded well as they enjoy a prolonged spell in possession. They're stringing together some tidy passes to work their way up the pitch, but it's all going awry for them in the final third. Real's defence doesn't get the credit, but they've been a well-oiled machine all season.
Atletico are very accomplished in erasing a deficit, and their resolve will be put to the greatest test of them all now. The team who scored first in the rematch of this final two years ago went on to lose the match, so there's absolutely no reason for Simeone's side to panic.
G. Bale
Real Madrid
Bale's San Siro party continues as he picks up the assist on the game's opening goal. He's been a stout provider in these opening 15 minutes.
Sergio Ramos
Real Madrid
COMETH THE MAN, COMETH THE HOUR! Just look at what it means to the Real Madrid skipper! Kroos' free-kick is flicked on by Bale, where Ramos arrives inside the six-yard box to meet in and slot a finish through the legs of Oblak! He runs off celebrating as the Atletico defence is breached - a rarity for them in the competition!
Clattenburg's patience has been tested early and often in this final, which was always going to be the case as these two fierce rivals square off on the big stage. He's dealt with it well thus far, but you get the sense there will be quite a few more bookings to follow as the foul count continues to rise.
Yellow Card
Real Madrid
Simeone is rather animated on the touchline for the first time tonight, screaming as Carvajal sends Griezmann crashing to ground with a late, physical challenge. The manager's protest doesn't fall upon deaf ears as the Real right-back is issued a yellow card.
Kroos weaves into a nice pocket of space atop the area with some capable dribbling, and wins the first corner as his shot goes behind with the aid of a deflection. Real Madrid have managed to quell their nerves better than their opponents, with many of their players no stranger to the big occasion.
Real Madrid are very much on the ascendency as we approach the 10-minute mark, and they have everyone queuing up in possession, looking to get their share of time on the ball. That's the sign of a confident team, when everyone looks to get involved.
STUNNING FROM OBLAK! An excellent display of instinctive goalkeeping from Oblak denies Real their opener! Bale strikes a low cross with venom, where Casemiro runs through to meet it behind the Atletico defence, but he's thwarted from point-blank range!
The first shot on target is a pedestrian one from Atletico, but it should serve as a source of encouragement for Simeone's side. Saul puts in a hard shift on the right and squares for Koke in the centre, but the midfielder scuffs a tame first-time effort straight at Navas.
A timid start to proceedings has led to possession exchanging hands on a multitude of occasions. But the aura of emotion trickling through the stadium suggests the spectacular is upon us tonight.
Pleasantries have been exchanged, the players are in position and the tension in the stadium has hit a boiling point. Settle in, grab a beverage and take a deep breath – the fun about to begin!
Andrea Bocelli, who's becoming something of a football cult hero, serenedes the fans with his ruthless execution of a stirring rendition of the Champions League anthem, beseeching goosebumps from this spirited crowd as it echoes through this sea of red and white.
The pre-match festivities are well-received by this capacity crowd of over 80,000 fans, but the artistry and pageantry is a teaser to whet your appetite ahead of the eagerly awaited main course.
Atletico are known to test a referee’s resolve, with Diego Simeone no stranger to some touchline antics. The Rojiblancos are no stranger to a tackle, but Clattenburg has earned his place in the final tonight, having earned the reputation of a stern but fair judiciary who isn’t always rushing to his pocket at the slightest sign of trouble. The man can take control of a match, and with emotions sure to be running high tonight, he’s exactly the sort of man the occasion calls for.
Clattenburg has quite the checkered past, having been dismissed by the referee’s governing body in 2008, a ban which lasted close to a full season, while being involved in more than a few on-field incidents over his career. His banter with players has been known to cross the line at times, but he should be on his very best behaviour this evening with the whole world watching.
He didn’t have the same success in refereeing the FA Cup final last weekend, in what was the biggest appointment of his career up to that point, coming under a fair bit of criticism for having his whistle seemingly glued to his lips in the first half. It doesn’t hold a candle to the amount of eyes that will be on his every move tonight.
The arbitrator for tonight’s festivities will be England’s Mark Clattenburg, who has had quite the eventful month. He oversaw Chelsea and Tottenham’s spirited 2-2 draw, which he handled very well given the sheer amount of incidents throughout – issuing a record nine yellow cards to Spurs players.
Real Madrid had the easier path to the final, defeating Roma, Wolfsburg and Manchester City, all of whom finished outside the top two in their domestic leagues. Atletico fought through PSV, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, a trio of title winners both this season and last.
Atletico have lost their only two previous final appearances, to their Madrid rivals in 2014, and to Bayern Munich in 1974. They will try and deny Real Madrid their 11th success this evening, while aiming to become the 23rd different club to lift the trophy. Chelsea were the last first-time winners in the competition in 2012.
That was just one of the 13 European Cup finals Real Madrid have previously been a part of, reaching a record 14th tonight – and on just three occasions have they been defeated, tasting victory in each of their past four appearances on the grandest stage of them all.
This is the fourth time the Champions League final is being held at the legendary San Siro, the last being in 2001 with Bayern edging Valencia 5-4 on penalties. Feyenoord (1970) and Inter (1965) were the other champions crowned at this venue, defeating Celtic and, wouldn’t you know it, Real Madrid, respectively.
Everyone in the footballing realm took note of his performance that night. It wasn’t just the goals, but the way he “destroyed,” according to Rafael van der Vaart, the best right-back in the world at the time in Maicon, that had people talking. He became a regular for Tottenham shortly after, soon appearing on Real Madrid’s shortlist. The rest is history.
Gareth Bale didn’t just score in his last San Siro appearance – he announced himself to the world. As a relatively unknown 20-year-old left-back, the Welshman went on to score a hat-trick for Tottenham in the group stage of the Champions League, in an eventual 4-3 loss to Inter.
Two talismans on feature this evening will have fond memories of the San Siro. Fernando Torres scored a vital away goal with Liverpool as they earned a 1-0 victory over Inter here in the 2007/08 Champions League last-16, though Torres’ Reds would wind up falling to Chelsea in the semi-finals that season, his first at Anfield.
Real Madrid have six of the same faces in their XI today from that night in Lisbon (Carvajal, Ramos, Modric, Bale, Ronaldo and Benzema), while Atletico have five (Juanfran, Godin, Luis, Gabi and Koke). Marcelo featured off the bench in that match, scoring in extra-time.
For the second time in three years, the Champions League final has a strong Madrid flavour. The two sides met at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon for the 2014 final. Diego Godin’s first-half goal had Atletico poised to lift the trophy, but Serio Ramos equalised deep into second-half stoppage time before goals from the Blancos ran away with it late in extra-time, to the tune of a 4-1 victory.
While Zidane hopes to leave his mark on history, Ronaldo will attempt to follow in the footsteps of his coach. With his goals in the 2008 for Manchester United and 2014 with Real Madrid, Ronaldo can become the first player to score in three separate UEFA Champions League finals.
Zidane has some added motivation this evening, not that he needs it. The Frenchman can become the seventh man to win the European Cup as both player and coach, joining an illustrious list which includes Miguel Munoz, Giovanni Trapattoni, Johan Cruyff, Carlo Ancelotti, Frank Rijkaard and Josep Guardiola.
If that is the case, they have to show their resiliency. Aside from a 2-0 first-leg defeat to Wolfsburg, Zidane’s side haven’t come across much adversity in the Champions League this season. They have kept a wealth of clean sheets, so it will be curious to see how they respond should they concede the first goal – which is where it went awry for them against Juventus in last season’s semi-finals.
For Zidane’s side, discipline will be essential to their success tonight – both in practice and mentally. Going up against such a tactically sound side in Atletico, every run off the ball will have to be accounted for. One slip in their shape and they could be punished on the counter.
With Real Madrid so keen to get their full-backs forward in attack, particularly Marcelo, plenty of responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Saul this evening. The 21-year-old has made quite a name for himself with some stellar performances in the knockout stage, and another impressive outing tonight could be the catalyst for Atletico to win their first Champions League trophy.
SUBS: Moya, Tiago, Correa, Hernandez, Carrasco, Partey, Gimenez.
ATLETICO (4-4-2): Oblak; Juanfran, Savic, Godin, Luis; Saul, Gabi, Augusto, Koke; Griezmann, Torres.
SUBS: Nacho, James, Kiko Casilla, Lucas Vazquez, Jese, Isco, Danilo.
REAL MADRID (4-3-3): Navas; Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modric; Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema.
Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres are the preferred duo up top. The Frenchman has started every game for the Rojiblancos in the Champions League this season, and is far and ahead their leading scorer with seven goals in the competition. Torres has plenty to prove himself after being left off Spain’s squad for the 2016 European Championship starting next month in France.
Saul, Gabi and Koke have started every match in the knockout stage for Atletico, and are accompanied tonight by Augusto Fernandez, who started both semi-final legs against Bayern. The Argentine’s presence keeps Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco on the bench, despite the Belgian starting three matches in the knockout stage and replacing him at half-time in the second leg of the last-four.
ATLETICO MADRID TEAM NEWS: Diego Simeone has chosen Stefan Savic to partner Diego Godin at the back, the lone surprise in the Rojiblanco team. Jose Gimenez missed the bulk of April with an Achilles problem, and somewhat struggled to return to form over the remainder of the season, which has likely led to his exclusion on this occasion – a tough blow for the young centre-half. Juanfran and Filipe Luis have been a fixture in the XI throughout the knockout stage and continue to deputise tonight.
Everything remains the same up top for Real Madrid, with Cristiano Ronaldo recovering from a slight injury scare to join Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema in attack. The trio are no strangers to the scene, starting alongside one another two years ago as they brought home the historic La Decima.
Casemiro assumes the holding role in midfield, with Luka Modric – who started the 2014 final as well – and Toni Kroos combining with the Brazilian to form a trio in midfield. Isco and James Rodriguez are relegated to a place on the bench.
REAL MADRID TEAM NEWS: There are few surprises, if any, in Zidane’s XI. Pepe, who started all but one of the Blancos’ knockout stage matches, partners Sergio Ramos in the centre of defence as Raphael Varane misses out with a thigh injury. Daniel Carvajal and Marcelo are the first-choice wing-backs.
We’ll leave no stone unturned as I get you hyped for the biggest match of the 2015-16 season, but before we pace through every intricate detail surrounding the event, let us take a look at the starting line-ups for tonight’s encounter:
The scene is set and the match finely poised after close to a month of build-up for another thrilling chapter in the history of this illustrious competition. It promises to be an incredible evening of football ahead of us as, regardless of who is left celebrating at the final whistle.
It’s Real Madrid. It’s Atletico Madrid. It’s the Spanish capital derby from the famous San Siro in Milan. But most importantly, it’s the Champions League final! Hello and welcome to LIVE coverage of the grandest event on the European club football calendar!