CL Semis Set: Madrid Derby To Showcase While Juve Draw Monaco
April 21, 2017
PHOTO:HNS via CroatiaWeek.com
Croatia may not be lifting cups on the international side of things, but come this June, another Croatian player will have to make room in his trophy case.
For a fifth straight year, a Croatian will lift the Champions League trophy!
It all started in 2013 when ‘Super Mario’ Mandžukić and Bayern Munich defeated Borussia Dortmund in injury time with Mandza scoring the opening goal of the match. In 2014, Luka Modrić got his first taste of Champions League glory as Real Madrid defeated Atletico Madrid in a rollercoaster extra time affair. 2015 saw Ivan Rakitić score the first goal of the final as Barcelona took care of Juventus 3-1 in Berlin. And last season (2016), Modrić won his second CL title alongside Mateo Kovačić (even though Kovačić didn’t play) when Real Madrid won their record 11th Champions League title, defeating Atletico Madrid in penalties. An honorable mention also goes to journeyman Ivica Olić who made the Champions League Final with Bayern Munich in 2010 and 2012.
The 2017 version will have the CL semifinals being represented by a record six Croatians. Modrić, Kovačić and Real Madrid were expected to get this far. Mandžukić has rejuvenated his play at left wing for Juventus, who shut out Barcelona over two legs. Croatian goalie Danijel Subašić and Monaco have flown under the radar to reach this point of the tournament. Juventus’ Marko Pjaca was ruled out for the remainder of the season after suffering a tear in his knee against Estonia in a friendly. Atletico Madrid defender Šime Vrsaljko was also ruled out as well with an ACL tear he picked up with the club in March.
It was announced Friday afternoon in Nyon, France that Luka Modrić & Real Madrid will face city rivals Atlético de Madrid in the semifinals while Mario Mandžukić and Juventus take on Danijel Subašić & dark horse AS Monaco.
Which final are you rooting for?