Friday, May 27, 2016

UCL Final 2016. Atletico's moment to shine

I really think the market has it wrong. Big time. Value punters must just be relishing at the prospect of backing big underdogs Atletico Madrid in their UCL final showdown against perennial foes Real Madrid. I believe they are making the right call.

Real Madrid will be favorites on account that they have in Ronaldo and Bale, two of the best three players on the planet. That's the ONLY credible point in their favour. Either of these two can turn a game upside down at any moment. But that's where the buck stops if you're looking for more positives. The notion that the UCL "belongs" to Real because they have won it a record 10 times is just rubbish. The past has zero incidence on the day contrary to what can be read on the sport pages.
These will also mention that the UCL pumps the Real players more than any other team. Another rubbish. The players in white have given their all to win the league as well only to fall just short to long-time leaders Barcelona. For sure, they would have relished beating their bitter rivals for the league title.

There are many reasons to side with Atletico. First, they played Real 10 times since their ill-fated UCL final loss to the same rivals a couple of years ago. They won 4 of these matches and only lost once. So, if there is to be a mental edge here, it's with Simeone's team. Talking of a mental blockage because of a UCL final two years ago holds little water; the teams are comprised of new players and if anything, the Atletico ones will be the most motivated.

Above all, what I think is Atletico's best asset is its manager, Diego Simeone. The results have proven over the past years that he knows how to prepare and win finals. Sure, the UCL loss was a dagger in this almost impeccable record, but let's not forget that were if not for Real's rather fortuitous goal from a corner in injury time. Atletico would have won its first UCL final. As they say, it's a game of inches (in this case, of seconds). Simeone has won the Europa Cup and Super Cup among others but what stands out for me was the Copa del Rey he won a few years back against Mourinho's Real. The Special One had never lost a final before and for Simeone to win the Cup in the rival's den was the real special achievement. Simeone will get his team to over-achieve for one match. The same thing cannot be said of the still-unproven Zidane.

Real is comprised of many stars. Atletico has only a real one in Griezman but they play as a team at all times. They beat Barcelona and Bayern because they organization and team spirit is second to none. Add to this a manager that prepares for a match like no other, you have the recipe for success that has been the Atletico story for the past few years now. It seems their time has arrived and at their current odds, must be one of the juiciest underdogs out there.

Win UCL: Atletico Madrid

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