UEFA'S Champions League Final at the San Siro in Milan sets the table for a great match between Madrid's neighbors, Atlético, and Real.
Both trainers have their own recipe for glory. Differences that go from the way they felt the game, how they played it and how do they prepare for it. Zidane, Fiorentino Pérez's last coach and the most inexperienced one, dared to challenge the President's style, and sacrificed one of the stars for a journeyman midfielder, and found the balance that allows him to field his three-man attack, the famous BBC, Bale, Benzema and Cristiano.
On the other side of the table sits Diego Simeone, the hard-worker, who finds the character, work and team effort as his key ingredients for success. His team scored the same number of goals, 16, on the road to the Final, as Cristiano has scored himself. He doesn't have a scoring center forward as he had in the past, in Falcao, Mandzukic or Diego Costa, because Fernando Torres, the kid, a true legend for his fans, doesn't score regularly.
Antoine Griezmann, the french left winger, has evolved into a scoring threat under Simeone. He netted 7 goals on the way to San Siro, and was as clinical as the best, against Barcelona and Bayern. They both know that they won't have more than 3 or 4 chances against Real and they will have to be very clever if they want to win.
Atletico's defense relies on Diego Godin, the Uruguayan stopper who is the chief on the field and in the dressing room. His leadership and ability to close any space will be the key to stopping Real's terrific attack. Juanfran (a former Real home grown player) and Filipe Luis are the wingbacks. The first one will be busy with Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo while the Brazilian should provide an attacking option down the left flank. Nobody needs to remember that just two years ago, in Lisbon, Sergio Ramos scored an equalizer in injury time, to tie the game, that later Real would win by 4 goals to 1. He still has Pepe as his partner in central defense and now in the right back is Carvajal, a local product of La Fábrica who could be Spain's right back for many years.
At both ends of the table sit the goalies. Jan Oblak, a Slovenian who replaced the Belgian Thibault Courtois has been as good as his predecessor was, and has been a key player this season. A great shot stopper has earned his place on the team with excellent performances like in the Quarterfinals against Barcelona and the Semifinals against Bayern. Keylor Navas has taken the mission to replace Iker Casillas at Real. Dispatched to Manchester United at the start of this season, he had to descend from the plane when he was about to sign a contract for the Red Devils to became an unbeatable goalkeeper since then closing the discussion on who should be the keeper for Los Blancos, at least for this season. The President will insist on bringing in De Gea this summer, especially if they don't win in Milan.
The table is served at San Siro. Real has never won there, and Atletico has never beaten Madrid in the UCL.