This article looks at 5 things we learned from Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid at the Vicente Calderon last night.
Real Madrid are through to the final of the UEFA Champions League and would be hoping to win their 12th title when they face Italian giants Juventus at Cardiff. Atletico Madrid produced a better performance at their home ground and went 2-0 up after just 16 minutes, but Isco Alarcon scored a vital away goal for the Los Blancos on the stroke of half-time to ease the nerves of the Real Madrid fans. The first leg, where Real won 3-0 proved to be decisive as Atletico had left too much for themselves. Real defeated Atletico for the 3rd time in 4 years in the Champions League and broke the hearts of Diego Simeone and his players.
Real will now take on Juventus at Cardiff in the final, seeking a third title win in 4 years. The Old Lady defeated Monaco by 4-1 on aggregate, and Gigi Buffon and his men would be looking to win the title this time, thus ending their European drought.
1) Ronaldo’s first-half goals proved to be enough:
Cristiano Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure in this game, looking for goal scoring opportunities but denied by a resolute Atletico Madrid defence. But the Portuguese’ goals in the first leg proved to be decisive as Atletico were left with too much to do after Isco scored the vital away goal. Ronaldo has blown hot and cold this season but has delivered in the big games, and the first leg of the semi-final was one of them. The Portuguese scored a brilliant hat-trick at the Bernabeu to give Real Madrid complete control of the tie and helped them reach the final.
For all the criticism he faces, he still remains the one best players in the world, only behind Lionel Messi, and has transformed into an absolutely sensational box player. Real would need him to be in great form in the final as well if they are to breach the resolute defence of Juventus.
¡Nos vamos a Cardiff! We’re going to Cardiff! 🏆 #APorLa12
2) Atletico lost, but have a great future:
Atletico Madrid are a bloody good football team, with a brilliant manager and terrific players. They might be struggling to get the better of their city rivals in the Champions League, but look destined for glory in the future because of the talent they have. Greizmann, Oblak, Saul, Koke, Gimenez, Carrasco are all superb football players and are quite young as well.
Atletico need to make sure they hold on to their players and their manager if they are to win the Champions League in the future. All of these players are being monitored by clubs across Europe and Atletico face a hard task of keeping their star players come the next season. If they manage to do that, they would surely be European Champions in the future, as these players are only going to get better.
Atletico Champions League form at Vicente Calderón under Diego Simeone: WWWWWDWWWWDLWWWWWWWWDWW Goals: 43 Clean sheets: 18 Conceded: 6 👋
3) Benzema proves his worth:
Questions have been raised as to why Benzema is preferred to Alvaro Morata in the big games by manager Zinedine Zidane. The Spanish striker has been in wonderful goal scoring form and is Real’s second highest goal scorer this season behind Ronaldo. But Benzema shut his critics up with a brilliant performance that reminded everyone of how good a centre-forward he really is. At 2-0, Benzema produced a sumptuous piece of skill in the Atletico Madrid box, beating three defenders in the process, which ultimately led to Isco’s goal. The experienced Frenchman hasn’t scored a lot of goals this season, but his hold up play and overall contribution to the attack has been extremely vital and one can understand why Zidane rates his compatriot so highly given his performance in this game.
The Great Escape. 😲 Featuring: Karim Benzema. “I don’t know how he did it!
4) Who needs De Gea, when you have Keylor Navas:
The Costa Rican shot-stopper is still not trusted by the Madrid fraternity, despite his brilliant performances. David De Gea has been linked with a move to Real Madrid once more come the summer, and that would effectively mean Navas’ time at the club is over. But the Costa Rican seems unfazed by all the speculation, as he keeps churning out great performances. Here again, Navas was in sublime form as he did not let Atletico get back into the game. His double saves to deny Carrasco and Gameiro were absolutely world class, and you wonder why Madrid are so desperate to get De Gea despite having a great goalkeeper in their ranks.
Anyone else love a double save? Wow Navas! #RealMadrid https://t.co/agNJWU5m8h
5) Heartbreak again for Simeone:
The Argentine is one of the best managers in the world, without a shadow of a doubt but does not seem to get the better of Real Madrid in the Champions League. Simeone adopted a much more attacking approach in this game, understandably given Atletico’s 3 goal deficit, and it seemed to pay dividends as they scored 2 goals in 16 minutes, but Isco scored the all-important away goal to break the charismatic manager’s heart once more. Simeone has tasted defeat against Real two times in the final of the Champions League and suffered a similar fate in the semi-finals this time around. The Argentine needs to find a way to beat the Los Blancos if he does stay at Atletico in the summer.