BARCELONA (Reuters) - Key head-to-heads in Saturday’s Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Real players listed first:
Iker Casillas v Thibaut Courtois
A clash of youth and experience. Courtois, 22, may be a more complete goalkeeper, with his extra height giving him an advantage with crosses, but 33-year-old Casillas has shown on many occasions that he has a knack of producing something special when required. Courtois has been a fundamental feature of the Atletico side all season and has made vital saves while Casillas has lost his first-team place in La Liga to Diego Lopez but has delivered when called on.
Sergio Ramos v Diego Godin
There is little to choose between two defensive titans who provide leadership and personality at the back. Atletico’s success has been based on their solidity and Godin plays a commanding role while Real are a more adventurous team and Ramos is the more comfortable player with the ball at his feet. Both have scored key goals this season in the air but Ramos is more adept at creating and scoring chances with the ball on the ground.
Angel Di Maria v Koke
With his lighter frame and dexterity, Angel Di Maria is more agile than Koke. He is a spontaneous player who will look to beat a man and take risks while Koke is solid and reliable. Koke will measure his passes in midfield waiting for the right moment to deliver the ball into the box. The Atletico player is also a hard worker and will provide more defensive cover than Di Maria.
Gareth Bale v Arda Turan
Both are valuable attacking options but they have very different styles as Arda’s strength is his passing and close control while Bale looks to use his power and pace. Arda is a key player for Atletico due to their more limited creative options and without him they lack someone who can beat a player and deliver the killer ball.
Arda has really shown his worth to the team this season while for Bale it has been a difficult time of adaptation and a series of injuries that have prevented him having a consistent run in the team. Still, world record buy Bale is a player who can turn a game with a dash of pace on the breakaway or a thunderbolt from distance.
Cristiano Ronaldo v Diego Costa
Ronaldo may have the edge over Costa but both are crucial players for their sides and capable of winning matches with a piece of trickery, a burst of pace or an explosive shot.
Costa is more of an out-and-out striker and while he can come deep to pick up the ball he is most dangerous in the box. Under the influence of Diego Simeone he has also become a tireless runner.
Ronaldo has scored 31 goals in La Liga compared to Costa’s 27 and the effects of a long season have taken their toll. Costa remains a serious doubt for the final, in which case his place would likely be taken by Adrian.
Compiled by Tim Hanlon, editing by Justin Palmer