Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi believes “it is the moment” for Atletico Madrid to land their first Champions League title.
Atletico take on city rivals Real Madrid at San Siro in Milan on Saturday in a repeat of the 2014 final which was won by Los Blancos as Carlo Ancelotti guided the club to La Decima.
Xavi, who claimed the trophy four times in a glittering career at Camp Nou, is predicting a different result this weekend.
He told www.sc.qa: “I believe that Atletico will take home the trophy. I think this is the moment of Atletico.
“They deserve it because of the work they are doing. Of course it is not the philosophy of play that I like the most, because they speculate and wait in defence, but I think it is the moment of Atletico Madrid.
“Football always gives you a second chance, and it is the same final as two years ago in Lisbon. Now we have the final in Milan and I think it is the time of Atletico Madrid.”
Xavi admits, however, that Madrid’s experience makes them favourites, adding: “The favourite in terms of history could be Real Madrid, as they have more experience in finals and these situations. So they have the edge in that regard. But I believe and think that it is the moment of Atletico Madrid.
“In Atletico Madrid’s team you have Koke, Saul [Niguez], [Antoine] Griezmann, Fernando Torres, these are football players with natural talent who can change a match in a moment.
“At Real Madrid you have [Toni] Kroos, [Luka] Modric, Isco, James [Rodriguez], [Gareth] Bale, Cristiano [Ronaldo], [Karim] Benzema, they are spectacular football players and we will see a fantastic final. I will watch it at home in Barcelona, and am looking forward to seeing that final.”