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CL Semis Set: Madrid Derby To Showcase While Juve Draw Monaco

April 21, 2017

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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?
 

 

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Ante Kvartuč
Posted By: Ante Kvartuč 31 comments





  1. Slavonac from Canada says:

    Real vs Atletico is gonna be a very tough challenge. I think this is a tale of two very different teams and each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
    Simeone used to be able to get a bit more magic from his players, I’m not sure they are as united as they were a short time ago…we’ll see. Real Madrid have several weapons in the attack…and they also have an incredibly fast counter-attack that can get from their own box to their opponents goal is a few short seconds. If Simeone can get his players to hold a no score result for a longer period of time, I think they can pull it off and will eventually win. if they lose concentration and try to play an open game…it’ll be game over for them real fast.
    I think Juve will hurt Monaco but it won’t be a cake walk. never underestimate the teams that aren’t as popular…they have more to play for and less to lose, thats a recipe for an upset. the difference about this game, in my opinion…is that Italian coaches and players fully understand how to play a disciplined game and get a result, even if its done ugly. for this reason, I think Juve will go thorugh



  2. LAknat says:

    Atletico Madrid will be winning fhis tournament and would say Leicester is the hardest oppenent that they had face



  3. Sude Mi says:

    Don’t forget:

    – Davor Suker won in ’98 with Real Madrid
    – Zvonimir Boban won in ’94 with AC Milan
    – Alen Boksic won in ’93 with Marseilles



  4. BZ says:

    @Laknat-picking Atletic is a bold choice. Kudos for putting your soccer reputation on the line. If Atleti wins it all, I will petition Cacic to play one of your lineups (preferably in a friendly, god help us)

    My picks are much safer. Mandventus vs Real Modric in final, with Real Modric winning ONLY because Juve will miss Kostelic style slalom runs by Pjaca ;)

    @Slavonac- glad to see you back and focused on soccer, rather than Pogbert.



  5. Soul Champ says:

    @ BZ

    I love it.

    Mario MANventus!

    I am still depressed around not seeing Pjaca come on bum rushing an opponent that has been MANventused.

    It is like a Croatian change up, the MANventus beats you up for 70-80 minutes and then Pjaca comes in and runs riot on the left flank.

    @ Idemo

    When is Šime WORLD-CLASS Vrsaljko returning?

    Athletico is going to need his presence at RB.

    @ Faux Cro

    Amazing how Barca let go Dani Alves?

    They have missed him and then he joins the best back four in the world and blanks Barca!

    Penny wise pound foolish.

    I guess there is such a thing as Self Hating Barca Board?

    Alves absence has made life tougher for everyone who is not the MSN. And ultimately MSN comes up zeros.

    I hope Vrsaljko is back to 100% before Iceland.

    We will need his Zadar World Class talent in Rejkavik.



  6. Faux Cro says:

    @Soul Champ:

    Nobody is missing Danny Alves more than Ivan Rakitic.

    He would stay more central when Alves was playing.

    He is either forced wide into an overlap/perpetual overlap or forced to be a second right back.

    Neither is good for him.



  7. Zee says:

    I like Monaco. Their kids are just vicious. All young. Unfortunately France will build another dynasty. Yuk. Their 18 year old are sickly good they will leave us behind. Hate to say it. Too fast too strong for us and I’m a homer. Oh boy i hope I’m wrong.



  8. The truth says:

    The only issue i have with this post is all the croats are pretty much side players for these teams. Pee-ass-a is injured. Mateo krotch-does-itch doesn’t see the field. Danjiel Sub-ass-bitch saves and let’s in what he is supposed to. Mahir mandzukic used to be a goal scorer but now he is a defender who plays forward. Vrsajlkoholic is still addicted to injury and riding benches. And mosric dances around the midfield but ultimately it’s ronaldo and the rm stars that make the difference



  9. Faux Cro says:

    @Ziva Dva

    Not understanding what Modric does at Madrid shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the game of soccer.

    Mandzukic is killing it at Juve and Juve fans love him. I am friends with a bunch of Juve fans and they rave about him.

    Vrsaljko is going to replace Srna and Juan Fran. Enough said.

    Pjaca is hurt and young, but Juve spend wisely and usually don’t error in judgment in this regard.



  10. Faux Cro says:

    Additionally, playing as GK for Monaco is no joke. It’s not like he is playing striker for Chivas USA.



  11. Idemo says:

    You are literally the only person in this website, in the world who thinks Vrsaljko is world class, the homer-ness is just unbearable because you aren’t even being sarcastic.



  12. Faux Cro says:

    @Idemo:

    Are you responding to me?

    BTW, it’s two of us who think he’s world class.

    Soul Champ and I.

    I am in good company.



  13. Zee says:

    Oh truth can you come up with something different? What are you playing on old 45 record? It’s really pathetic and sad. Sure the girls and your friends just love the same old lines. You must be a real blast to go out with for dinner and a drink! It’s getting old dude! Need some new material!



  14. BZ says:

    Lol-Even if Vrsaljko is not World Class (which he was before the injury) the response Soul Champ garners after writing Sime “World Class” Vrsaljko is nothing short of World Class.

    @Soul Champ- sbnation or bleacher report had ratings for Real Modric. I nearly laughed out loud when they described Modric’s performance as “solid”



  15. Idemo says:

    You must have a low ceiling., world class players at a point are measured by trophies and cups, he has none. No success other then personal monetary
    Great player. Highly important for our NT. Not on Messi Ronaldo Modric level in terms of importance.

    Your opinion is yours. I just provide facts.



  16. LAknat says:

    I will bless your ass with my world class kick!@,@ become a butthurt upon my world class foot.



  17. The truth says:

    I’m just saying it’s disappointing to see hrvati playing nothing but bit roles in the champions league. Or i guess really anywhere. As i think about it, it’s tough to find any team in the big four leagues where a hrvat is the best player. It probably helps explain Croatia lack of production at major tournaments despite all the claims of world class players by media and diaspora. For the diaspora, a hrvat is a Croatian. You add an i to make it plural.



  18. Idemo says:

    you think dani alves vrsaljko and roberto carlos are on the same level. plz keep that opinion here, you would get shredded anywhere else.



  19. Lazio says:

    @Idemo
    “Not on Messi Ronaldo Modric level in terms of importance.”

    But, is Modric on the same level as Messi and Ronaldo without qualification?



  20. CroatianPerson85 says:

    @truth

    I agree with you on Croatians playing bit part roles or being above average. We don’t have anyone who is the #1 or #2 on their team. Ok Modric’s importance can’t be understated although it took a few years for people to see his importance to Real. Perisic is the only guy I can think of who is up there regarding importance and value to his team but Inter isn’t a top club in the world as they once were. I feel like that effects us come tournament time.

    Someone please correct me if I am wrong. Which Croatian player would you say is the most valuable (not in dollars) to their team. Modric? Perisic? Anyone else?

    Do you think in 98 we had more players who were more valuable to their team vs now? I can’t remember how much playing time Boban was getting in Milan at his peak. I remember him playing an important role but I don’t think he was a #1 or #2. Mind you his AC Milan team was stacked at a point in time.



  21. Poglavnik says:

    From what I remember most of players were bench players going into ’98. Even Suker and Boban.
    We just had that je ne sais quoi.



  22. Faux Cro says:

    This is the face of the matter

    Srna,Lahm,Zabaletta, and Alves are all at the end of their careers. Quality wing backs are hard to come by.

    There is a reason why Atletico signed and play Vrsaljko.

    They didn’t do it to sell 100 jerseys.

    Or perhaps they made a bad business and soccer decision.

    Barca would kill to have him at this point. He would be the difference between them winning LaLiga or not.



  23. Poglavnik says:

    ^ ^
    “Barca would kill to have him at this point. He would be the difference between them winning LaLiga or not.”

    That’s a little debatable..
    Although missing Dani Alves is the biggest problem I do see with this years Barca.
    So question being, could Vrsaljko put in Alves like performances on a consistent basis?
    I personally don’t think he’s there yet.





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