WE’RE NOW CLOSER to discovering the identity of the 2017 Champions League winners after the final two quarter-finals of the competition were decided last night.
The remaining four teams can loosely be put into two categories — defensively solid and incredibly hard-to-beat sides (Atletico Madrid and Juventus), and highly entertaining teams with a wealth of attacking riches (Monaco and Real Madrid).
Real Madrid are bidding to become the first side to retain the Champions League and earned an impressive if somewhat controversial victory over Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening.
Fellow Spaniards Atletico were ruthlessly efficient as they got the job done against reigning Premier League champions Leicester. Diego Simeone’s men are highly experienced in the competition — it’s the third time in four years they have reached the semis but have yet to win outright. They will be aiming to avoid getting knocked out by bitter rivals Real for the fourth year running should they come up against Zinedine Zidane’s men.
Juventus, meanwhile, are similarly accustomed to Champions League football, consistently reaching the knockout stages in recent years and losing to Barcelona in the final in 2015. They managed to go some way towards avenging that loss to the Catalan giants, as they completed a convincing 3-0 aggregate victory over Luis Enrique’s men last night.
Finally, Monaco will be very much considered the underdogs of the remaining quartet, but the Ligue 1 side prevailing is far from inconceivable.
With an array of exciting young talent, Leonardo Jardim’s team have already overcome top English sides in the form of Tottenham and Man City, while last night’s 6-3 aggregate victory over Borussia Dortmund may have been their most impressive performance yet.
Their lack of experience ensures they will be underdogs, but as past triumphs involving sides such as Porto and Chelsea demonstrated, the favourites don’t always come out on top in Europe’s elite club competition.
Ahead of Friday’s semi-finals draw, Real Madrid are most bookies’ favourites, with Juve second, Atletico third and Monaco rank outsiders, but do you agree?
Let us know who you think will win the Champions League.