Atletico vs Real: Meet the 22 players who matter in the Champions League final

May 23, 2014, 08:44 IST | AFP

With the Champions League final between Real and Atletico just a day away, mid-day profiles the 22 men who will take centrestage at Lisbon, along with the two managers in the dugouts

Real Madrid

Real Madrid team
Cristiano Ronaldo (left winger)
Even for a player so accustomed to breaking records, Ronaldo's 16 in 10 games in the Champions League this season has been a new high. He has the chance to claim his first Champions League title.

Karim Benzema (striker)
Given confidence by knowing he is Ancelotti's first-choice striker, Benzema has flourished under the Italian scoring 24 goals and just as importantly providing the perfect foil for the pace of Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

Angel di Maria (attacking midfielder)
A player transformed by a change of position, Di Maria's energy is crucial to the balance of Madrid's central midfield. The Argentine has also remained a goal threat from his deeper role with 14 this season

Gareth Bale (right winger)
Bale said he left Spurs for games like the Champions League final and can round off a fine first year by adding European football's greatest prize to the Copa del Rey he won with a stunning solo run and finish against Barca.

Fabio Coentrao (left back)
Much derided after his 30 million-euro move, he has become an important player off late as he shone in both attack and defence in Real's Copa del Rey final win over Barca and the thrashing of Bayern in the semis.

Pepe (central defender)
The Brazilian-born Portuguese international is in a race against time to be fit to play in his adopted homeland due to a calf strain.

Sami Khedira (central midfielder)
Khedira has just returned from a seven-month injury lay-off after cruciate knee ligament damage, but Ancelotti could prefer his experience to the youth of Asier Illaramendi in the absence of the suspended Xabi Alonso.

Luka Modric (central midfielder)
Modric will be charged with even more responsibility to dominate the midfield in Alonso's absence. Well-known for his passing and ability to shoot from range, but it is his defensive work that has won hearts.

Sergio Ramos (central defender)
The lynchpin of the Real defence, Ramos has won virtually every honour at club and international level barring the Champions League.

Dani Carvajal (right back)
Carvajal has become a key part of the Real side in his first season with the first team since the club exercised a buy-back option to bring him back to the Bernabeu after one stellar season with Bayer Leverkusen last year.

Iker Casillas (goalkeeper)
A hero of Real's last Champions League win over Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park, Casillas, who turned 33 on Tuesday, has overcome the most difficult 18 months of his 15-year career at the Bernabeu to lead his side out in Lisbon.

Carlo Ancelotti (manager)
Ancelotti could become just the second man after Bob Paisley to win the European Cup three times, having done so with AC Milan in 2003 and 2007. Such is Madrid?s obsession with winning a 10th European Cup, the result on Saturday will either see Ancelotti hailed as a hero for finally delivering ?La Decima? or possibly fighting for his job having also missed out on La Liga in recent weeks.

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid Team

Koke (left winger)

A product of the Atletico youth academy, the 22-year-old has had a stellar season which has seen him become not just a regular in Simeone's set-up but also in the Spanish national squad.

David Villa (striker)
Villa's work rate has been consistently hailed by Simeone, but he has lost the spark in front of goal that made him Spain's all-time leading scorer at international level having failed to find the net at all in this season's Champions League.

Diego Costa (striker)
The side's top scorer and talisman with 36 goals in all competitions, Brazilian-born Costa looks like he could miss the final due to a hamstring injury. However, if he does play he can take Atletico to the title.

Raul Garcia (right winger)
A converted central midfielder, Garcia's 17 goals in all competitions this season make him the club's second top scorer. He has proved particularly effective in the air and will offer physical presence up front should Costa be unfit.

Diego Godin (central defender)
One of many that were seen as underachieving prior to Simeone's arrival at the club, Godin has been transformed under the Argentine and not only defended with great authority but also popped up with some vital goals.

Filipe Luis (left back)
Just as important an outlet going forward from left-back as he is defensively, Filipe Luis has proved particularly important in the two league meetings against Real Madrid this season as he snuffed out the threat posed by Gareth Bale.

Tiago (central midfielder)
Another player whose nomadic career has been rejuvenated by Simeone. A regular in central midfield, the Portuguese international's ability to protect his back four has been a key feature of Atletico's excellent defensive record.

Gabi (central midfielder)
A product of the Atleti youth academy, Gabi has been an inspirational captain in leading the side to the Liga title and the brink of a first Champions League crown. He has played more minutes than any other Atletico outfield player this season.

Juanfran (right back)
Like Filipe Luis, as well as contributing to European football's best defence this season, Juanfran has been just as important going forward, most notably in setting up two goals in the semi-final win at Chelsea. Started his career at Real Madrid.

Miranda (central defender)
One of the unsung heroes of Atletico's success, the 29-year-old Brazilian has struck up a great partnership with Godin at the heart of the defence.

Thibaut Courtois (goalkeeper)
Courtois has spent the last three seasons in the Spanish capital on loan from Chelsea and has quickly become one of the world's best goalkeepers at just 22 years of age. The Belgian No 1 has kept 28 clean sheets in all competitions this season.

Diego Simeone (manager)
Simeone's conversion of a club in crisis just above the relegation zone to La Liga champions and on the brink of a first Champions League title in two and a half years has been remarkable. Despite not having the finances to compete with Europe's elite, Simeone's motivation and tactical organisation has led Atletico on a 12-game unbeaten run to the final on their first appearance in the competition for four years.

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