Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will face off in the semi-final of the Champions League.
It’s a repeat of the finals of 2014 and 2016, in which Real were victorious on both occasions, and promises to be an enthralling two-legged affair.
The winners of that tie will take on the victors of the other semi between Monaco and Juve. It’s the ultimate attack versus defence battle - Monaco have scored 21 goals since reaching the group stage, including three in each of their four knockout matches, while Juventus have only conceded twice in their 10 European fixtures this season and denied Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar in two legs.
Juve midfielder Sami Khedira took to Twitter after the draw was made on Friday evening to praise the French outfit.
“Monaco! Strong team with many talented players and an impressive run this season. We have to be careful, but the goal is clear," Khedira said.
The ultimate goal for the four sides is to be lifting the famous trophy in Cardiff on June 3. Madrid are hoping to become the first team in Champions League history to retain the trophy and, having beaten Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals - albeit in controversial circumstances - it’s easy to see why they are the favourites.
Atleti vs Real... again
Diego Simeone will be aware of how difficult the draw is but Atleti’s manager will also relish the opportunity to get another crack at Los Blancos.
However, it would have been pretty incredible if they were meeting in the final. But the balls didn’t fall that way at UEFA’s base in Nyon, where the draw was made.
Was the draw rigged?
Yet Spanish newspaper AS have some concerns over the authority of the draw. They claim that Ian Rush, the ambassador for the final, went directly for Atletico Madrid’s ball after first picking out Real Madrid, as if he intended to pick Los Rojiblancos out.
AS are wondering if any ‘warm’ balls were used to decide the draw.
Watch the draw below. Rush pulls out the second ball at 0:44, and AS note how he barely moves any of the balls.
Video: Semi-final draw
This isn’t the first time Rush has been accused of rigging the Champions League draw. Remember the incident in August, when he appeared to lift a ball out of the hat before putting it back?
Was the semi-final draw rigged? Let us know in the comments section below!
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