Weblog: The football punter

Atletico can shackle Real and showman Ronaldo

THE defining image of last weekend; Cristiano Ronaldo talking to Gareth Bale as the boyo squealed over a sore calf in the Malaga game.

What do you think Cristiano was saying? “Go on Gareth, my old mate, see if you can run it off. At the moment you’re probably only out for about three weeks, but if you can really knacker it you should be out for the season, and then that old fart in the dug-out will pick someone who passes to me.” Perhaps.

Well there’s probably no Bale and certainly no Modric tonight which gives Ronny more of a chance than ever to steal the limelight, something he usually tries to shy away from.

Problem is, it’s Atletico they're facing and you can be sure that Simeone will have his henchmen primed to kick the Portuguese ace to pieces in a bid to stop Real in their tracks.

I can’t see a reason not to back Atletico, or at the very least the Atletico-draw double chance. It isn’t as though they don’t know how to get results against them – they’ve met seven times this term and Real haven’t won a single one.

The other game is Monaco against Juventus and I fancy the Italian mob for that one.

Monaco have to score to have any chance and that isn’t exactly their forte, hardly surprising when Dimitar Berbatov is your go-to goal-getter.

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Match in Focus

19:45 TODAY SS5

Monaco v Juventus

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Juve have lost just one of their last 14 away matches
Expert verdict
Juventus needed a penalty to seal a 1-0 first-leg win over Monaco in Turin but are well placed to clinch a place in the semi-finals for the first time since 2003. Monaco’s counter-attacking style is not suiting to chasing games and the concession of an away goal may signal the end of their Champions League quest.