Football

Old Lady fancied as Real, Atletico Madrid renew hostilities

Former Juventus midfielder Alessio Tacchinardi was among those who flashed his pearly whites when the Old Lady was last night drawn to face Monaco in the Champions League semi-finals.

The French side are the least fancied among the four teams left in the competition, meaning Juventus stand a great chance of reaching the Champions League final at Cardiff's National Stadium on June 3.

"It's super draw. Monaco are the weakest team of three possible," Tacchinardi told Mediaset Premium.

"Of course, Monaco deserve the utmost respect. The away match in Monte Carlo will be important, because the principality team do not have much experience and the stadium factor can be decisive."

Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon had got his wish of avoiding Atletico Madrid, whom he believes will rest their stars as they are out of La Liga race and can focus on the Champions League.

Even before the draw, Barcelona defender Gerard Pique had tipped Juventus to lift the trophy they last won in 1996.

"I think they can win the Champions League this season," the Spanish international said, after Barcelona were knocked out by Juventus in the quarter-finals.

Atletico were drawn to face holders Real Madrid in the other semi-final.

The all-Madrid showdown is a rerun of the 2014 and 2016 Champions League finals, with Real victorious on both occasions in cagey affairs that extended beyond 90 minutes of regulation time.

Atletico director Clemente Villaverde said hosting Real in the return leg on May 10 will be a fitting farewell for the Vicente Calderon, their home for 50 years. Atletico will move to a new stadium next season.

Said the former Atletico player: "Our fans and players have experienced two final defeats and know what it means and takes to get there," he told uefa.com.

"Hopefully, we can give the Vicente Calderon the goodbye it deserves." - WIRE SERVICES


CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SEMI-FINALS

  • Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid (1st leg: May 2, 2nd leg: May 10)
  • Monaco v Juventus (1st leg: May 3, 2nd leg: May 9)
Champions LeagueREAL MADRIDatletico madrid