Isco - worst preformers

Champions League: Best & Worst Performers from the Semis

It is official. Real Madrid and Juventus will battle for European supremacy come June 3 in Cardiff. Well, it didn’t come as a surprise to see these two KO Atletico Madrid and AS Monaco in their respective semi-final clashes. But what really amazed many was the manner they achieved it; how certain players dazzled while others foundered when it mattered most.

Juve, aiming for their first accolade in 21 years were the first to plant their feet in the Welsh capital. Massimiliano Allegri’s team were almost assured of their second final in three years following an impressive 2-0 away win in the first leg. Nonetheless, the Old Lady didn’t leave any stone unturned in the corresponding fixture on Tuesday, again edging Monaco 2-1 (4-1 on aggregate).

Real, on the other hand, survived a massive barrage from Atleti to book their flight next to Juve to Cardiff. Los Rojiblancos, which shipped in three goals at the Bernabeu, came blazing in the second leg on Wednesday, grabbing two goals in less than 15 minutes.  However, trouble was averted when Isco pounced on a rebound from Tony Kroos’ fierce shot following a brilliant run by Karim Benzema. Atletico won 2-1 on the night but was eventually eliminated 2-4 on aggregate.

Certain players distinguished themselves over both legs while few others simply didn’t make it to the party. We take a look at the best and worst players from the just concluded semis.

Best Performers

Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid enjoyed a somewhat smooth sail to their second successive final and this was due to the singular brilliance of their talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo. As in time past, the 32-year-old rose to the occasion to save Los Blancos with three crucial goals in the first leg. Although he didn’t have a similar influence on Wednesday, we can at least pardon him for his heroics a week ago.

Dani Alves

It is hard to recall a greater full-back performance over two legs than Dani Alves’ against Monaco. Evergreen, forever young and never-fading, it’s almost safe to christen the Brazillian, who recently clocked 34, as the new Benjamin Button. He was so brilliant that he had a hand in all four goals scored by his team in the semis, assisting three and scoring one himself. His displays seemingly evoked the memories of his Sevilla and early Barcelona days.

Isco

Who needs a Gareth Bale, when we’ve got Isco. That’s probably the new mantra in Madrid at the moment after another charming display from the latter. Not only has the Spaniard stepped into the Welshman’s absolutely enormous shoes, he has done that with great aplomb. Such that the world’s second-most expensive footballer now risk losing his place in the final in his homeland. Isco, deployed behind Ronaldo and Benzema against Atletic was excellent with his dribbling and movement. He capped a masterful display with a goal at the Vicente Calderon.

Worst Performers

Radamel Falcao

Much was expected from Radamel Falcao ahead of his club’s last-four clash with Juve. He was perceived as the man to lead a youthful Monaco team to their first Champions League final in 17 years. The expectations weren’t only from the fans. His manager Leonardo Jardim shared the same optimism stating that “we are expecting great things from [Radamel] Falcao”. But the Colombian forward not only let his team down but the entire Principality. In both ties, the 31-year-old failed to find the back of the net; anonymous most times and fluffed the few opportunities that came his way.

Antoine Griezmann

Just like Falcao, Antoine Griezmann had the full weight of the Atletico supporters in their quest to break Real’s Champions League spell. Diego Simeone’s side had suffered four successive exits at the hands of their rivals with Griezmann tipped to be their messiah. But sadly, the burden was just too heavy on the Frenchman.  Consequently, Atleti failed once again. Though he occasionally showed flashes of his mesmerising best and even converted a spot-kick, yet it wasn’t enough to take his team to the promise land.

About the Author Toby

An unrepentant soccer freak other freaks call geek.

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