The Champions League final brings two of Europe’s greatest clubs together in a clash that will have smaller battles of gigantic proportions. While both teams are replete with some of the best talents in the world, some key battles will dictate the result.
Here is a look at three key battles that will define the showpiece event at Kyiv:
Marcelo vs Salah
Easily the one that everybody is looking forward to. This one pits the world’s best left-back against the best right-sided winger of the year. Marcelo has all the ability to stop Salah but that doesn’t mean the Egyptian will surrender meekly.
Marcelo is a very attack-minded full-back and Salah has scored most of his 44 goals by drifting in the space between the centre-back and the left-back. There is every chance that the Brazilian will discipline himself and respect Salah to ensure that he doesn’t get time on the ball and wreak havoc.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Van Dijk
While Ronaldo generally starts off on the left-wing to accommodate Benzema in the middle, he is, in reality, a striker. Given the freedom he is afforded, Ronaldo will surely find himself receiving crosses and long balls behind the centre-backs.
Van Dijk will be the one who would be tasked with the unenviable job of marking the Portuguese maestro. While Lovren has improved considerably this season, he has been found guilty of under-delivering in the big games. This battle will probably be the one that could decide the fate of the game.
Jordan Henderson vs Toni Kroos
Both these midfield “generals” will control the tempo of the game and define the midfield battle that allows freedom to either Luka Modric or Wijnaldum to bomb ahead. Also, they are their team’s best passers and one ball is all they need to start a counter-attack and create chances.
With both defences being porous this year, the midfield battle will be the one that could decide the number of goals that will be scored on the night. The game is going to be an extremely exciting one that promises goals and excitement for all.