Madrid rivals go head to head again for Champions League glory
Cristiano Ronaldo insists personal goals will be put to one side as Real Madrid seek to embellish their incredible European record with victory over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday.football Updated: May 28, 2016 08:51 IST
Cristiano Ronaldo insists personal goals will be put to one side as Real Madrid seek to embellish their incredible European record with victory over Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final on Saturday.
Ronaldo, a three-time world player of the year, has never scored a goal at the San Siro but has the chance to match and surpass his own record of scoring 17 Champions League goals in a season.
Yet two years after Real defender Sergio Ramos levelled at the death to inspire a stunning, extra-time comeback and secure a 10th triumph in Lisbon, the Portuguese superstar insists winning an 11th crown is far more important than who hits the net at the San Siro.
“It would be nice to equal or even pass the (scoring) record, but I am not obsessed with that because the most important thing is to win,” Ronaldo said when asked about adding to his 16-goal tally in the competition
Victory would see Real Madrid embellish their reputation as the most successful club in Europe having won the inaugural edition, the European Champions Clubs’ Cup, in 1956 when Argentinian Hector Rial struck the winner in a 4-3 victory over fallen French giants Stade Reims in Paris.
Atletico’s achievements may pale in comparison, but the threat from Diego Simeone’s men, who have restricted Real to only one win in their past 10 meetings since the 2014 final, is real.
Before winning two Europa League titles in 2010 and 2012, the ‘Rojiblancos’ last continental trophy was the now defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1962.
Yet only two years after Lisbon, Simeone’s men are back having stunned Barcelona in the quarter-finals, and ended the hopes of the Catalan giants’ former coach Pep Guardiola when they ousted his Bayern Munich side on away goals in the semifinals.
Real fans may have the history, but Zinedine Zindane’s men have beaten Atletico only once in 10 meetings since their 4-1 victory in Lisbon two years ago.
Unsurprisingly, Simeone is bullish ahead of a clash that Ronaldo says will settle which side rules the roost in the Spanish capital.
“We’ve already played two of the top three teams in the world and now we’re facing the third in the final,” Simeone told UEFA.com. He believes the key to beating Real will be breaking down a solid defence and making sure his players remain vigilant at set-pieces.
“Madrid are different to Barcelona and Bayern; they’re a much more direct team who are a massive threat from set pieces.
“We’ll look to play the game on our terms. Fingers crossed, that will be enough for us to do what we want, which is to win.”
First Published: May 28, 2016 08:41 IST