Spain rules Europe: The battle of Madrid

There is no question as to the unassailable superiority of Spanish clubs in Europe’s two elite club competitions; the Champions League (CL) and Europa League (EL).

Sevilla has won the last three EL trophies while the CL has been shared between Real Madrid (2014) and Barcelona (2015).

And to complete total dominance of the Champions League, two Spanish clubs—Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid—will clash today in Milan for the 2016 trophy in what has been dubbed as the ‘Battle of Madrid’ as the two clubs are derby rivals from the Spanish capital. Coverage of the match starts from 19:30 on SuperSport and is available on all DStv bouquets, including GOtv.

It will be sweet revenge for Diego Simeon who was on the losing side of the 2013/14 final against Real Madrid when the Los Blancos won the coveted ‘La Decima’ (10th CL trophy).  Atletico Madrid are my favourite to win this match because they have dismissed two clubs that were considered favourites in Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

Besides, Atletico have not lost a derby against Real in the last six encounters winning four and drawing two. They rely on team work while Los Blancos are a three man show; Bale, CR7 and Benzema.

However, Real are a big club and with a lot of experience. The coming in of Zinedine Zidane has inspired the team. They are more solid in defence, something they have lacked since the departure of Claude Makerere. But Zidane has discovered an equivalent of Makerere in young Casmeiro.

Zidane won the trophy in grand style as a player after a memorable volley in 2002 against Bayer Leverkusen. When they won the ‘La Decima’ in 2014, he was an assistant to Carlo Ancelotti. Today’s trophy means a lot to Zidane because he has a chance to join the club of a few special people to have won the tournament both as players and managers.

There is another final in South Africa between Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United in the Ned Bank Cup which kicks off from 14:30 local time. It will be a preamble to the Champions League if you are a big fan of South African football.

The local league is littered with problems so much that it becomes difficult to comment because there are only harsh words to share. A national  team that does not know how it will travel to fulfill its next fixture in Afcon qualifiers speaks volumes of where we are.

It is commendable that finally local football clubs can earn something out of TV Rights. Thumbs up to Sulom although it has been long overdue. But hey, this is Malawi where people are profusely thanked for doing ordinary things in their work routine.

I know whatever I say will not undo what has already been done. But that does not stop me from stating my opinion. I believe the idea of signing a contract with a TV company before agreeing how the money is going to be shared among the clubs was not prudent. What if the clubs refuse to accept the offer? Obviously, some clubs will demand more based on their popularity, how is Sulom going to handle that? n

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