Gareth Bale stoked the fires ahead of the Champions League final this week by claiming that no Atletico Madrid player would make it into the Real Madrid starting lineup, as Sky Sports reports.
We at CaughtOffside have decided to put the Welshman’s theory to the test on the day that the Spanish rivals clash for club football’s biggest prize, by picking a combined XI from the Madrid teams.
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GK: Jan Oblak
There is little to choose between the two goalkeepers. We give the nod to Atletico’s Jan Oblak, who is probably more well-rounded than Keylor Navas and has enjoyed a magnificent season in La Liga.
We face another difficult choice at right-back. Dani Carvajal is a very good attacking outlet, but Juanfran is a more solid defensive presence and is the preferred choice of Spain manager Vicente del Bosque.
CB: Sergio Ramos
Three La Liga titles, the Champions League, the World Cup and two European Championships, Ramos has been one of the best centre-backs in the world for nearly a decade and walks into this side.
CB: Diego Godin
Atletico are the best defensive team in Europe and Godin is their warrior of a leader. They don’t come tougher than the Uruguayan, and we would want him for a big game ahead of the temperamental Pepe.
Again we have a choice of a roaming full-back or a reliable defender. This time, unfortunately for Filipe Luis, Marcelo’s attacking prowess was just too much too ignore. He is a excellent outlet for Real.
CM: Luka Modric
Has developed into one of Real’s most important players over the course of his four years at the Bernabeu. The Croatian is the little lynchpin around which the flashy superstars thrive.
CM: Toni Kroos
Saul Niguez has enjoyed a great season for Atletico and might push Kroos for his place in this team in a couple of years time. But the German pass-master is one of the best in the world at what he does.
The 24-year-old Spain international is an influential figure for Diego Simeone, embodying the manager’s physical style of play, but combining that aggression with great creative and passing talents.
FW: Cristiano Ronaldo
An obvious inclusion in our star-studded frontline. The Portuguese is the top scorer in this season’s Champions League with 16 goals – one every 62 minutes, and seven more than any other player.
FW: Gareth Bale
The man whose words prompted this argument gets in on the right of a forward three. Has proved he is a world-class performer for club and country. Scored in Real’s 2014 final win over Atletico.
FW: Antoine Griezmann
Arguably Atletico’s only world-class player, Griezmann is the sparkle that lights up a team which otherwise relies on spirit, hard work and discipline. Thirty-two goals in all competitions this term.
Here is how we would line up. Not a bad side, and five Atletico players in it. So Bale was very wrong!
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