Simeone’s Atletico Madrid side are in better shape than Zidane’s Real Madrid. Atlético have their spirits up and are far less fatigued than they were two years ago in Lisbon. We already know Simeone will go on about rich and poor clubs, humility, values and the eternal battle between the classes, but Atlético are a better side the two years and Madrid aren’t.
Atleti are just as tough and tight at the back, but they’ve got more firepower up front than they did back then, when they turned up in Portugal with a limping Diego Costa as their main threat. Griezmann, as he demonstrated in Munich, isn’t over-awed by big games and the rejuvenated Torres creates spaces and even more importantly chances.
And Cholo has Carrasco in reserve, who’s worth twice as much when their rivals are tired. And if we add Oblak, who’s better than Courtois, it all adds up to a better team, with the same style, but more certain of their chances. Madrid on the other hand are very similar to the side that won the Décima. They’ve lost something important with Di María’s departure and gained a little with the security of Keylor Navas in goal, but the side hasn’t evolved. Zidane has settled the dressing room, but on the pitch the team are still too sedate. Only sparks from Bale, against Rayo, Real Sociedad and City, have saved them from a certain sluggishness in their play.
Right now Atleti are the favourites… but there are three weeks still to go…