As the highly exciting football campaign draws to a close it is fair to deduce that Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will be a highlight to the club season before we all turn our attention to Euro 2016 which is just around corner.
The upcoming affair in Milano will see the replay of the 2014 final match in once again an all-Madrid showpiece event that serves as a confirmation of the Spanish dominance in the continental football.
Zinedine Zidane and Diego Simeone will be vying for what will be their first ever Champions League trophy as managers, but another man will be under the spotlight in Saturday’s clash.
Los Blancos key man Cristiano Ronaldo has moved past the injury scare and is ready to help his team win the 11th European title in a night that could very well bring new records for the Portugal star.
Records on the horizon
Having sustained a knock in training this week, the 31-year-old was in doubt for the final; but given his mentality and physical strength it was clear from the start that Cristiano Ronaldo would not miss the last game of the season at any cost.
Too much is at stake for the experienced star who is looking to increase his tally of 16 goals this season in the elite club competition.
The 2013-14 campaign still echoes around him and Cristiano Ronaldo surely remembers that it was in the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid that he scored his 17th goal on the campaign when he tucked in a penalty past Thibaut Courtois, becoming the record goal scorer in that dying moment of the match.
Sitting one goal away from equalling his own record in the Champions League, Ronaldo will give his best to score the 17th goal this time around as well, if not 18th. He already has more goals to his name than Atletico Madrid have in their 12 matches this season and Portuguese international is highly motivated to crush his own record and win the trophy in the process.
History bidding against him
Cristiano Ronaldo heads into the final match of the season in fine form.
The 31-year-old has scored nine goals in his last seven appearances for Los Blancos in all competition. Top scorer in Champions League history with 93 goals to his name is brimming with confidence, but he is well aware that Real Madrid will need to beat the most recent tradition in order to claim a victory in the finals.
Ever since their Copa del Rey win over city rivals in 2014, Diego Simeone’s men have held an upper hand against Real Madrid. In fact, Los Blancos have won only one of their last six matches against Atletico Madrid in all competitions.
As for Cristiano Ronaldo himself, the Portugal star has not always been in top form against los Rojiblancos. Out of 24 competitive matches against his Madrid counterparts Cristiano Ronaldo managed 15 goals, which is below par given his total tally.
Saturday’s final will be Ronaldo’s fourth in total
Real Madrid main man lifted the trophy twice so far and certainly boasts plenty of experience that will make him the most likely match winner for his side against Atletico Madrid.
Ronaldo lifted the trophy in 2008 when Manchester United beat Chelsea on penalties at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, before he lost one the very next year to Barcelona. The Catalans triumphed 2-0 at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico in a frustrating night for Cristiano Ronaldo that turned out to be his last ever match for Manchester United.
The aforementioned 2014 final in Lisbon against his Saturday’s rivals was the last one so far and Cristiano Ronaldo will either have it 3-1 when it comes to finals won and lost, or the result will end up being a tie.
His team is looking at the odds of 6/4 to be crowned champions of Europe and there is no doubt that much will depend on Cristiano’s form.
The 31-year-old has this week repeated his commitment to stay at Real Madrid until the end of his professional career and there would be no better way to express his gratitude towards Los Blancos than to help them win the coveted trophy.
Do you expect Ronaldo to play a key role in the Champions League final?