Ronaldo, Bale, Villa and Garcia – The players who could decide the Champions League final

Despite the probable absence of Diego Costa, there are plenty of match-winners on display in Saturday’s Champions League final – Al Hain-Cole takes a look at the dangermen

For the first time in the history of the European Cup, rivals from the same city go head-to-head in Saturday’s Champions League final, with Atletico Madrid hoping to complete a famous double and Real hunting for the long-awaited Decima.

In a game featuring an eye-watering array of attacking talent, bet365’s offer to match any pre-match bet of up to £50 with a risk-free in-play wager of the same value represents the perfect opportunity to plunder the goalscorer markets.

Clearly the only place to start when in a match featuring los Blancos is with Cristiano Ronaldo, whose incredible return of 16 goals in just 10 Champions League games has seen him exceed rival Lionel Messi’s record of 14 in the 2011-12 season.

With the Ballon d’Or winner seemingly sure to start despite a recent injury, odds of 11/10 (2.10) seem rather generous on him hitting a 13th goal in 12 Derbis Madrilenos, as does the 10/3 (4.33) price on him scoring last for the fifth time in this competition.

Trailing some way behind Ronaldo in the goalscoring charts lie Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, who have hit five European goals apiece alongside the Portuguese maestro in a deadly three-pronged attack.

Having demonstrated his appetite for the big occasion with the winning goal in last month’s Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona, Bale is well worth considering at 21/10 (3.10) to score anytime for the eighth time in 12 games.

In contrast, Benzema has only struck once in the last 13 matches, so appears a less attractive proposition at the same 21/10 (3.10) price.

The euphoria of Atleti’s title-clinching draw away to Barcelona last weekend was tempered by the loss through injury of both 38-goal top scorer Diego Costa 9/4 (3.25) and winger Arda Turan 6/1 (7.00), who now both face a race against time in order to feature in Lisbon.

Should those two fail to recover then Raul Garcia would represent his side’s most prolific available player in this season’s competition and a strong option at 4/1 (5.00) to find the net.

Diego Simeone will also be praying for David Villa to rediscover his goal-scoring touch at the perfect moment, with the veteran striker available at 11/4 (3.75) to end a 16-game drought with a famous goal in the final.

Realistically, Atletico’s best chance probably lies in keeping things tight and hoping to grab a goal from a counter attack or set-piece, a tactic they pulled off to great effect at Camp Nou last weekend.

Having scored the crucial equaliser in that match, centre-back Diego Godin is certainly worth a pop at a lengthy 18/1 (19.00) to repeat those heroics with a sixth of the season.

However, Carlo Ancelotti also boasts an ace up his sleeve when it comes to goalscoring defenders, with the in-form Sergio Ramos providing more potential value at 8/1 (9.00) to hit a sixth in just seven games.

Don’t forget that all bet365 customers who place a pre-match bet are entitled to a risk-free in-play bet on this match.

New bet365 customers can claim a first deposit bonus of up to £200

Al Hain-Cole is an experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.


05 2014
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