Rio Hondo College Newspaper

El Paisano

UEFA Champions League Returns to Action

From left to right: Cristiano Ronaldo/ Real Madrid, Antoine Griezmann/ Atletico Madrid, Radamel Falco/ AS Monaco and Paulo Dybala/ Juventus.

Photo illustration by Aaron Martinez/ El Paisano

From left to right: Cristiano Ronaldo/ Real Madrid, Antoine Griezmann/ Atletico Madrid, Radamel Falco/ AS Monaco and Paulo Dybala/ Juventus.

Crystian Mendoza, Sports Editor

The most prestigious competition in European soccer returns May 2 after the semifinal draw on April 21 as Real Madrid hosts Spanish city rivals Atletico Madrid in a repeat of last seasons finale, while the French side AS Monaco will host Italian league leaders Juventus May 3.   

This is the fourth successive season in which Real Madrid has had to face Atletico Madrid in the knockout phase while Atletico are yet to claim a win in that run, with Real Madrid getting two wins and two draws. Real Madrid have also consecutively reached the Champions League semis for the past seven seasons, an impressive record in the history of the competition. Still, Atletico have only lost one out of their ten Champions League matches this season, and after losing to their rivals in the finale last year, Head Coach Diego Simeone seeks redemption for his.

Real Madrid will host Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg of the semi finals and look to be in top form after salvaging a late win against Valencia April 29 to keep them in the title race for La Liga as they are currently tied in points with league rivals Barcelona.

While on the other hand, Atletico Madrid is fighting to secure a top-three league position in order to secure an automatic-qualification for the Champions League next season.

“The players have looked at the rival we will play in the Champions League, but the league does not allow you to be distracted,” said Simeone in regards to maintaining focus in La Liga despite having to face a tough Real Madrid in the Champions League once again. “The goal is to reach the final, and for this you have to beat the opponent you play. Whoever the rival, it would be the same reason to win.”

Meanwhile this is the second time that Monaco and Juventus meet in the semi-finals, with this being Monaco’s fourth time reaching the semis, no other French team has had more appearances in the final four. Juventus has now made the semis for the second time in three seasons as they look to continue their undefeated record in the competition while not having conceded a goal in 531 minutes, the current longest run in the competition.

It is sure to be an exciting clash as both sides face off at the Stade Louis ll, where the French league leaders look to host the Italian giants, but Juventus’ convincing display against Barcelona speaks for itself, and their dominance in Italy over the past five years gives testament to how much of a powerful side they are.

With only four teams left in the tournament, the Champions League has now reached a stage in which heartbreak is almost at its strongest. Emotions amongst those eliminated in the last round are only going to increase as the competition reaches its finale.  

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Rio Hondo College Newspaper
UEFA Champions League Returns to Action