In what is set to be one of Jose Mourinho’s final games in charge of Real Madrid, the Portuguese manager aims to bow out of Spain on a high as he so usually does by beating arch rivals Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey Final. ‘The Special One’ has led Real to one league title, one Super Copa and a Copa del Rey already in his three years in charge but defeat would mean he ends the season trophyless for the first time in five years. Atletico meanwhile will be vying to overturn their horrific record against Real having not beaten their neighbours in over 13 years.
Mourinho has won the Copa del Rey once before when Real beat Barcelona at the Mestalla in the 2011 final and will be confident of leading Los Galacticos to their 19th Cup triumph. He has an almost fully fit squad to select from, with the only absentee being Raphael Varane who has a serious knee injury, which means Pepe could be welcomed back into the starting XI. Pepe had been excluded from the squad due to his criticism of Mourinho concerning the on-going row between the manager and Iker Casillas.
Mesut Ozil is likely to feature too having recovered from an ankle injury. Talisman Cristiano Ronaldo should also start having been named on the bench for the previous league game with Espanyol, and could be named alongside Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain.
Diego Simeone has named his probable XI to begin against Real tonight in his press conference, making a couple of changes from the weekend loss at home to Barcelona. Filipe Luis, Mario Suarez and Diego Costa come in for Emiliano Insua, Tiago and Adrian as Simeone prefers to maintain the 4-4-2 shape that has been so consistent this season. Radamel Falcao starts for Atleti despite huge rumours linking the Colombian with a €60m move to Monaco. Falcao has denied the rumours but sources in and around Monte Carlo continue to link him with a transfer.
Atletico have not beaten Real for over 13 years and tonight’s final would be the perfect opportunity to break that run and win their first domestic trophy since 1996 and their 10th Copa del Rey. It’d be the best way to cap an impressive season and get revenge against Real for overtaking them in La Liga.
Real are 4/6 to win with SkyBet, William Hill, BetVictor, PaddyPower and 888 Sport whilst Atletico are best priced at 19/4 with BetVictor and Stan James. Stan James also offer the best odds on a draw with a deadlocked game priced at 16/5.