Big Match Feature: Real v Atletico


Holders Real Madrid CF could scarcely face a more familiar foe as they continue their bid to become the first team to successfully defend the Uefa Champions League title with a semifinal against neighbours Club Atlético de Madrid – the side they beat in the finals of 2014 and 2016.

Real Madrid have won four of their seven European matches against Atlético, losing only one, and have ended their city rivals’ Uefa Champions League hopes in each of the last three seasons.

Previous Meetings

This is a fifth European tie for Real Madrid and Atlético, all in the European Cup, with Madrid having won all four previous ties.

Their first international fixtures came in the 1958/59 European Cup semifinals. Madrid won the home first leg 2-1, Héctor Rial’s goal (15) and a Ferenc Puskás penalty (33) overturning Chuzo’s 13th-minute opener. Atlético prevailed in the return thanks to Enrique Collar’s 43rd-minute effort.

That meant a replay six days later, played in Zaragoza, where Alfredo Di Stéfano’s early strike was swiftly cancelled out by Collar. Puskás dealt the decisive blow three minutes before halftime to take Madrid into a fourth successive final.

The line-ups at La Romareda on 13 May 1959 were:

Real Madrid: Domínguez, Miche, Santamaría, Lesmes, Ruiz, Zárraga, Mateos, Kopa, Di Stéfano, Puskás, Gento.

Atlético: Pazos, Rivilla, Callejo, Mendiondo, Chuzo, Calleja, Miguel, Agustín, Vavá, Peiró, Collar.

It was 55 years until the teams’ next European contest, in the 2014 final in Lisbon – the first final fixture involving clubs from the same city in European Cup history. Diego Godín’s header (36) gave newly crowned Spanish champions Atlético the lead, and it looked like that would be enough for Diego Simeone’s side to claim their first European Cup – only for Sergio Ramos to level at the last (90+3). Carlo Ancelotti’s Madrid ran away with it in extra time courtesy of goals from Gareth Bale (110), Marcelo (118) and a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty (120).

The line-ups at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica were:

Real Madrid: Casillas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Fábio Coentrão (Marcelo 59), Khedira (Isco 59), Modric, Di María, Bale, Benzema (Morata 79), Ronaldo.

Atlético: Courtois, Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe Luís (Alderweireld 83), Tiago, Koke, Gabi, Raúl García (Sosa 66), Villa, Diego Costa (Adrián López 9).

Pepe was an unused substitute for Madrid.

The Merengues also came out on top in the 2014/15 quarterfinals, Javier Hernández heading the only goal of the tie late in the Santiago Bernabéu second leg.

At the Santiago Bernabéu on 22 April 2015, the line-ups were:

Real Madrid: Casillas, Varane, Pepe, Ramos, Fábio Coentrão (Arbeloa 90+1), Carvajal, Kroos, Isco (Illarramendi 90+3), James, Hernández (Jesé 90+2), Ronaldo.

Atlético: Oblak, Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Jesús Gámez, Tiago (Giménez 86), Koke, Saúl Ñíguez (Gabi 46), Griezmann (Raúl García 65), Arda Turan, Mandžukic.

Madrid and Atlético both advanced all the way to the final again in 2015/16. Sergio Ramos’ 15th-minute breakthrough in Milan was cancelled out by Atlético substitute Yannick Carrasco 11 minutes from time, Antoine Griezmann having missed a 48th-minute spot kick.

With no further goals, the match went to penalties. After Lucas Vázquez, Marcelo, Bale and Ramos had converted for Madrid, and Griezmann, Gabi and Saúl Ñíguez had done likewise, Juanfran struck the base of the post with Atlético’s fourth kick, leaving Ronaldo to convert and take the trophy to Madrid for the 11th time.

The teams at San Siro on 28 May 2016 were:

Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal (Danilo 52), Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos (Isco 72), Modric, Bale, Benzema (Lucas Vázquez 77), Ronaldo.

Atlético: Oblak, Juanfran, Godín, Savic, Filipe Luís (Lucas Hernández 109), Gabi, Augusto Fernández (Carrasco 46), Koke (Partey 116), Saúl, Griezmann, F Torres.

The sides have met in 204 league, Spanish Cup and Spanish Super Cup games, with 103 Madrid wins, 51 for Atlético and 50 draws. Atlético have lost just one of their last ten domestic matches against their local rivals since losing the 2014 Uefa Champions League final, recording five victories and four draws.

That sole defeat came in this season’s first Liga encounter, Madrid triumphing 3-0 at the Vicente Calderón on 19 November 2016 thanks to a Ronaldo hat-trick (29, 71pen, 77). The derby at the Santiago Bernabéu on 8 April finished 1-1, Griezmann earning the visitors a point with an 85th-minute equaliser after Pepe’s opener for Madrid (52).

Match Background

Real Madrid

Madrid are through to their seventh successive Uefa Champions League semifinal, a competition record. It will be their 12th semifinal appearance in total, also a record, one more than FC Barcelona.

The Merengues have won five Uefa Champions League semifinals, and went on to win the trophy on each occasion.

This is Madrid’s 28th European Cup semifinal overall, with the record W14 L13. They have won two of their last seven semifinal ties.

The full breakdown of those 27 ties is:

1955/56 AC Milan W 5-4 (4-2 h, 1-2 a)

1956/57 Manchester United FC W 5-3(3-1 h, 2-2 a)

1957/58 Vasas SC W 4-2 (4-0 h, 0-2 a)

1958/59 Club Atlético de Madrid W 2-1 replay (2-1 h, 0-1 a)

1959/60 FC Barcelona W 6-2 (3-1 h, 3-1 a)

1961/62 R. Standard de Liège W 6-0 (4-0 h, 2-0 a)

1963/64 FC Zürich W 8-1 (2-1 a, 6-0 h)

1965/66 FC Internazionale Milano W 2-1 (1-0 h, 1-1 a)

1967/68 Manchester United FC L 3-4 (0-1 a, 3-3 h)

1972 73 AFC Ajax L 1-3 (1-2 a, 0-1 h)

1975/76 FC Bayern München L 1-3 (1-1 h, 0-2 a)

1979/80 Hamburger SV L 3-5 (2-0 h, 1-5 a)

1980/81 FC Internazionale Milano W 2-1 (2-0 h, 0-1 a)

1986/87 FC Bayern München L 2-4 (1-4 a, 1-0 h)

1987/88 PSV Eindhoven L 1-1 away goals (1-1 h, 0-0 a)

1988/89 AC Milan L 1-6 (1-1 h, 0-5 a)

1997/98 Borussia Dortmund W 2-0 (2-0 h, 0-0 a)

1999/00 FC Bayern München W 3-2 (2-0 h, 1-2 a)

2000/01 FC Bayern München L 1-3 (0-1 h, 1-2 a)

2001/02 FC Barcelona W 3-1 (2-0 a, 1-1 h)

2002/03 Juventus L 3-4 (2-1 h, 1-3 a)

2010/11 FC Barcelona L 1-3 (0-2 h, 1-1 a)

2011/12 FC Bayern München, L 1-3 on penalties (1-2 a, 2-1 h)

2012/13 Borussia Dortmund L 3-4 (1-4 a, 2-0 h)

2013/14 FC Bayern München W 5-0 (1-0 h, 4-0 a)

2014/15 Juventus L 2-3 (1-2 a, 1-1 h)

2015/16 Manchester City FC W 1-0 (0-0 a, 1-0 h)

Madrid’s home record in European Cup semifinals is W18 D6 L3. They are unbeaten in their last five home games in the semifinals (W4 D1).

Madrid have won only one of their last seven away matches in Uefa Champions League semifinals (D2 L4). Overall, their away record in the last four is W5 D6 L16.

Madrid are unbeaten in this season’s competition (W7 D3) and have won all four of their outings in the current knockout stage.

The 2-2 draw with Borussia Dortmund on matchday six is the solitary occasion Madrid have failed to win in their last 11 European home fixtures. Madrid have won 30 of their last 35 Uefa Champions League home games, losing just once – 4-3 against FC Schalke 04 in the 2014/15 round of 16 second leg, when they still prevailed 5-3 on aggregate.

Madrid’s record against Liga teams in Europe is W11 D6 L3 (W4 D2 L1 at home; W2 D3 L2 away). Their record in two-legged ties is W5 L2.

This is the fifth time Real Madrid have faced a Spanish club in the European Cup semifinals; aside from that success against Atlético in 1959, all their other previous meetings came against Barcelona. They won 6-2 on aggregate in 1959/60 (3-1 h, 3-1 a) and 3-1 in 2001/02 (2-0 a, 1-1 h) but lost 3-1 over two legs in 2010/11 (0-2 h, 1-1 a).

Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last seven matches against Spanish opposition in Europe, since that 2-0 home reverse to Barcelona in 2011.


This is Atlético’s sixth European Cup semifinal (W3 D2) and their third in four years.

Atlético’s semifinal breakdown is:

1958/59 Real Madrid CF L 1-2 replay (1-2 a, 1-0 h)

1970/71 AFC Ajax L 1-3 (1-0 h, 0-3 a)

1973/74 Celtic FC W 2-0 (0-0 a, 2-0 h)

2013/14 Chelsea FC W 3-1 (0-0 h, 3-1 a)

2015/16 FC Bayern München W 2-2 away goals (1-0 h, 1-2 a)

Atlético are unbeaten in the home legs of all five of their European Cup semifinals (W4 D1) and have never

conceded a goal at home. The lone draw came in the first leg of their 2013/14 tie against Chelsea, when they went on to win 3-1 away.

That Chelsea victory is Atlético’s only away success in European Cup semifinals; otherwise their record is D1 L3.

The Rojiblancos have won ten and drawn six of their 22 Uefa Champions League away games since September 2013. All six defeats came by a one-goal margin.

The second leg will be the last ever European fixture at the Vicente Calderón.

Atlético’s record against Spanish sides in Uefa competition is W8 D5 L7 (W1 D2 L5 away; W6 D2 L0 home). Their record in two-legged ties is W5 L3.

Aside from the 1959 tie with Madrid, Atlético’s only other previous European semifinal against a fellow Spanish outfit came in the 2011/12 Uefa Europa League, when they beat Valencia 5-2 over two legs (4-2 h, 1-0 a).

Coach and Player Links

Zinédine Zidane and Simeone crossed paths as players eight times during their careers when Zidane played for Juventus and Simeone represented FC Internazionale Milano and SS Lazio. Simeone’s record is W4 D2 L2, the Argentinian scoring the goal in Lazio’s 1-0 Serie A victory at Juve on 1 April 2000 and also getting the winner in Lazio’s 2-1 second-leg triumph in the Coppa Italia quarterfinals the same season.

Simeone’s record against Madrid in all competitions as a player for Sevilla FC, Atlético and Lazio was W1 D2 L8. He scored once, in Atlético’s 4-2 defeat on 5 November 1994.

The Argentinian enjoys a much better record as a coach, having lost just two of his last 13 meetings with Madrid, with last term’s Uefa Champions League final counted as a draw. Overall it is W7 D7 L8.

Zidane never lost to Atlético during his playing days with Madrid, winning six and drawing two out of eight encounters.

Juanfran came through Real Madrid’s academy, making six appearances for the first team in 2003/04 and 2004/05.

Isco, Nacho, Dani Carvajal and Koke were part of Spain’s victorious 2013 Uefa European Under-21 Championship squad.

International teammates:

Marcelo, Danilo, Casemiro and Filipe Luís (Brazil);

Ronaldo, Pepe and Tiago (Portugal);

Raphaël Varane, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann (France);

Juanfran, Saúl Ñíguez, Koke and Isco, Dani Carvajal, Ramos, Casilla, Álvaro Morata, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vázquez (Spain);

Šime Vrsaljko and Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic (Croatia);

Saúl Ñíguez and Marco Asensio (Spain U-21)

Former club-mates:

Karim Benzema and Tiago (Olympique Lyonnais, 2005–2007);

Óliver Torres, Casemiro and Danilo (FC Porto, 2014–15);

James Rodríguez and Yannick Carrasco (AS Monaco FC, 2013–14);

Fábio Coentrão and Nicolás Gaitán (SL Benfica, 2010-11)

Ronaldo has netted 18 goals in 27 games against Atlético, hitting a hat-trick in a 4-1 Liga triumph on 11 April 2012 and in this season’s Liga but being sent off after scoring in Madrid’s 2-1 Copa del Rey final loss in 2012/13.

Ramos has twice been dismissed against Atlético – in a 1-1 Liga draw on 1 October 2006 and during Madrid’s 3-2 top-flight victory in November 2009.

Match Facts


Zidane’s men have scored in a Spanish-record 58 successive fixtures (158 goals), since the 0-0 draw at Manchester City FC in the first leg of their 2015/16 Uefa Champions League semifinal.

Madrid have lost twice at the Bernabéu this term. They have not lost more than two home games in a single campaign in five seasons.

Isco has had a hand in 12 goals (scored or assisted) in his last 12 starts for the Merengues.

Álvaro Morata (four goals in four games), Ronaldo (6 in 4) and James Rodríguez (3 in 3) have all been in scoring form.

Madrid have kept just one clean sheet in their last 16 matches in all competitions.

Ronaldo became the first player to score 100 Uefa club competition goals in the quarterfinal first leg, and the first to reach 100 in the Uefa Champions League in the second leg.

Madrid’s 12-game unbeaten run (W10 D2) ended with a last-gasp home defeat by Barcelona on 23 April. The Catalan giants have a better head-to-head record so to win the title, Zidane’s team must finish ahead on points.


The Rojiblancos are 15 matches unbeaten away from home, since a 3-0 loss at Villarreal CF on 12 December.

Simeone’s men have kept nine clean sheets in their last 13 fixtures, conceding just four goals.

Griezmann has bagged 16 Liga goals this season, still six shy of what he managed the previous two campaigns.

Atlético’s 12-game unbeaten sequence (W8 D4) ended on 25 April with a 1-0 home defeat by Villarreal. Simeone’s side had 20 shots, nine of them on target; the visitors scored from their only attempt on target.

Atlético’s four losses in 2017 have all come at home. They have won nine, drawn one.

Head Coaches

Zinédine Zidane

Date of birth: 23 June 1972

Nationality: French

Playing career: AS Cannes, FC Girondins de Bordeaux, Juventus, Real Madrid CF

Coaching Career: Real Madrid CF

Born in Marseille to Algerian immigrant parents, Zidane took his first steps towards footballing superstardom at Cannes, transferring to Bordeaux in 1992. Blossomed into a French international, scoring twice on his debut against the Czech Republic in August 1994.

Left Bordeaux after helping them reach the 1996 Uefa Cup final and joined Juventus, where he was a Serie A winner and Uefa Champions League runner-up in each of his first two seasons. Lifted no further trophies, however, in his last three campaigns in Turin prior to a then world-record €78m switch to Madrid in 2001.

Made up for a lack of club silverware by inspiring France to 1998 Fifa World Cup glory – scoring two headers in the Saint-Denis final against Brazil – and at Uefa EURO 2000, where he was player of the tournament; winner of the Ballon d’Or in 1998, he was also voted Fifa World Player of the Year in 1998, 2000 and 2003.

Made it third time lucky in the Uefa Champions League final by hitting a spectacular volleyed winner in Madrid’s 2-1 victory over Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the 2002 showpiece at Hampden Park. Landed the Uefa Super Cup, European/South American Cup and Spanish Liga the following season.

Announced his international retirement after Uefa EURO 2004 yet returned a year later and proved inspirational at the 2006 World Cup – especially with a virtuoso display in a quarterfinal triumph over holders Brazil; however, was dismissed for a headbutt on Marco Materazzi in the final against Italy – the last match of his career.

Stayed at Madrid in an advisory role, becoming assistant to Carlo Ancelotti in 2013/14 – the season the club claimed their tenth European title. Took charge of Real Madrid Castilla for the next campaign, and in January 2016 succeeded Rafael Benítez as head coach, promptly leading the club to yet another European Cup that May – the seventh to lift the trophy as player and coach. Added the Uefa Super Cup three months later, making him the fifth man to win that trophy in both guises.

Diego Simeone

Date of birth: 28 April 1970

Nationality: Argentinian

Playing career: CA Vélez Sarsfield, AC Pisa, Sevilla FC, Club Atlético de Madrid, FC Internazionale Milano, SS Lazio, Club Atlético de Madrid, Racing Club

Coaching career: Racing Club, Club Estudiantes de la Plata, CA River Plate, CA San Lorenzo, Calcio Catania, Racing Club, Club Atlético de Madrid

Launched career as a combative midfielder with Vélez Sarsfield and was a full Argentinian international at 18, making debut in a July 1988 friendly against Australia; went on to play in three Fifa World Cups and retired as Argentina’s most-capped player (106 appearances, 11 goals). Moved to Italy in 1990 to join Pisa; two years later he left for Sevilla, where he played under Argentina’s 1986 World Cup-winning coach Carlos Bilardo and – for one season – alongside Diego Maradona.

Joined Atlético in 1994 and won the Spanish domestic double in his second season, his first major club honours to add to two Copa América titles (1991 and 1993) plus the 1992 Fifa Confederations Cup with Argentina.

Enjoyed further success after returning to Italy, winning the Uefa Cup with Inter, plus a Serie A and Coppa Italia double in his debut campaign with Lazio (1999/2000). After four years in Rome, he returned to Madrid for a second spell with Atlético before ending his playing career in Argentina with Racing Club.

Started coaching career with Racing Club and won Argentinian titles with Estudiantes (2006 Apertura) and River Plate (2008 Clausura); brief spells at San Lorenzo, Italian club Catania and Racing (again) preceded his appointment in December 2011 at Atlético.

Led Atletico to victory in the 2012 Uefa Europa League final against Athletic Club and to a Copa del Rey final triumph over Real Madrid CF in 2013. A year later, Atlético held off FC Barcelona and Madrid to win their first league title since 1996, although they lost to Madrid in the Uefa Champions League final. Took Atlético to another Uefa Champions League final in 2016, although again they lost to Madrid.


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