Finals of any cup competition can often be tightly contested and tense affairs, but the pairing of Real Madrid and Liverpool in the 2018 UEFA Champions League Final is one that genuinely whets the football appetite, with great expectation that these two European titans could serve up a tasty treat of goals galore at the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev.
All the right ingredients are there for a thrilling final, contested between two sides boasting an exciting array of the most potent attacking players in European football this season. Of course, two particular names have hit the headlines regularly throughout the campaign, so let’s take a look at them both in more detail.
The Portuguese superstar has quite literally been there and done it all with Real Madrid, amassing a spectacular haul of both individual and club honours during his time at the Santiago Bernabéu. However, the Spanish giants have endured a frustrating 2017-18 domestic campaign by their continually stratospheric standards, way off the pace behind Barcelona in La Liga and eliminated early from the Copa del Rey.
Suspension and injury niggles hampered Ronaldo early in the season and domestically, and Real Madrid never really recovered, even though the 33-year-old registered a personal tally of 26 goals in La Liga this term. However, the Champions League remains the principal annual objective for Zinedine Zidane’s team and Cristiano is undoubtedly their most important player in the competition.
Topping the Champions League scoring charts with 15 goals in 12 appearances this season, accounting for 50% of Real Madrid’s goals in the competition, 16/5 First Goalscorer odds make Cristiano Ronaldo the clear favourite to draw first blood in the final against Liverpool. His form will be an important edge for Los Blancos, if they’re to win a third consecutive European title.
Despite still only being aged 25, Mohamed Salah looked set for a journeyman career in football, having already played for five different clubs before eventually finding his feet in Merseyside with Liverpool. Although the Egyptian forward has always had a keen eye for goals, it’s during the 2017-18 season in which his form has quite literally exploded, catapulting the player into the global media spotlight.
Topping the Premier League scoring charts with 32 goals in 36 appearances for Jürgen Klopp’s side, Salah has also been instrumental to Liverpool’s progress in the Champions League, adding another 10 goals to his personal tally for the campaign. Already a firm Anfield favourite in just his first season with the club, lifting the famous European trophy would crown a spectacular campaign.
Affectionately titled ‘The King of Egypt’ for his stellar displays this term, Reds fans will be hoping he reigns supreme during an encounter in which plenty of goals are expected. With his Last Goalscorer odds at 10/3, it wouldn’t be surprising if Salah has the final say with a decisive goal, earning him the opportunity to hoist the Champions League trophy aloft after ninety minutes of action in Kiev.