Cristiano Ronaldo vs Juanfran
Any battle that involves the best player in the world is going to be a key one – having scored 15 goals already in this season’s Champions League competition, breaking the previous record, the whole of Real’s following will be praying that Cristiano Ronaldo can continue his goal scoring exploits and fire them to a long-awaited tenth Champions League crown. Juanfran, who has had a great season in his own right, will be looking to add to his Spain World Cup call-up and La Liga crown by helping his team to their first ever Champions League title – and if they did do it, what a way to do it by beating their Madrid rivals in the first derby Champions League final.
Gareth Bale vs Felipe Luis
Felipe Luis has done excellently to come back from a horrific leg break in 2010 to play at the level he does now. Having made 41 appearances this season and being a key part of the Atletico defence which has formed the basis of their trophy race on all fronts. He will come up against Welsh wing wizard Bale who has started to repay the world record £86million transfer fee that Real Madrid forked out to Tottenham last summer. Having scored 21 goals in 43 games this season and forming one third of the deadly “BBC” attacking combo for Real he will definitely be one to watch – especially after his recent lung-busting run and finish in the Copa Del Rey final which cemented him in the hearts of all Los Blancos fans.
Gabi vs Luka Modric
Atleti captain Gabi will never shirk from a tackle – no midfielder who reached the knockout stage has averaged more tackles a game than the Atletico general. He could come up against Luka Modric who despite initially finding it tough in Madrid has now grown to become a key member of the team and squad – his range of passing and ability to get attacks started has become key for Real who have been able to utilise Modric in a box-to-box midfield role supported by Isco, Angel Di Maria or Xabi Alonso this season running.
Adrian Lopez vs Sergio Ramos
Adrian will more than likely be the man to replace unfortunate star man Diego Costa, who despite all the miracle cures and horse placenta in the world, isn’t likely to be fit for the grand finale due to the hamstring injury which caused him to limp off in the league decider against Barcelona. Adrian has played a bit-part in this season but like the rest of the squad has fulfilled his role superbly and the stage could be set for him to become the hero. The man he comes up against is semi-final hero Sergio Ramos whose quick-fire goals got Real on the way to trouncing Bayern Munch at the Allianz – despite being on thin ice in regards to discipline the whole game Ramos shone for Real with his all-action style. Question marks are still likely to be raised in the final over his ability to be a little rash despite him being an excellent all-round defender.
Carlo Ancelotti vs Diego Simeone
Simeone has led Atletico to their first Champions League final since 1974 and their first La Liga crown since 1996. He has built a team focused on defensive solidity, having conceded the least league goals in La Liga this season as well as the best defensive record in the Champions League. He has combined this defensive solidity with incisive counter attacking play with an attack spear-headed by the colossal Diego Costa. The man in the opposite dugout will be Ancelotti who is chasing his third Champions League trophy as a manager – his free-flowing attacking style has been a spectacle for all in both the league and in Europe and it will prove to be an intriguing tie.