Cristiano Ronaldo will play a big role in Sunday's Champions League Final. Image courtesy of au.eurosport.com
Athletico Madrid will claim their first ever Champions League title if they overcome fierce rivals Real Madrid in the final on Sunday morning (AEST).
Diego Simeone’s side shocked Barcelona on the weekend to break a 10-year streak dominated by the Catalans and Real Madrid and win this season’s La Liga title. This weekend, they can win their first Champions League title in club history at the second attempt. Athletico fans will be hoping their prized striker Diego Costa will be fit in time for the clash in Lisbon. Costa suffered a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw with Barcelona on Sunday and is a major doubt. The Spanish striker was flown to Belgrade to see a controversial placenta doctor in a bid to recover from the muscle tear. Costa, who has scored 38 goals in all competitions this season, will be a massive blow for the underdogs, which would leave former Barcelona striker David Villa to step up to the task.
Real Madrid will look to add to their nine UEFA Champions League titles on Sunday and break the hearts of their rivals in the process. Carlo Ancelotti’s men stunned football fans across the world when they thumped reigning champions and competition favourites Bayern Munich 5-0 on aggregate to book themselves a spot in the final. Real aren’t without worries of their own, with Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo under slight injury clouds, the latter rested on the weekend against Espanyol. But they are both expected to be fit come Sunday and will look to hit what has been a defensively strong Athletico side on the counter attack.
If Athletico can beat Real, it will be one of the greatest ever club achievements in world football. The two sides have met four times this season, with two wins for Real, one for Athletico and most recently a 2-2 draw in March. Losing Diego Costa would be a massive blow for the outsiders and could prove to be, like he has so many times this season, the difference between victory and defeat. Real start as favourites, and with Ancelotti given the luxury to select from a full strength team, Real should end Athletico’s European dream at the final hurdle and claim their first UEFA Champions League title in 12 years.
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