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Godin's stats and role ahead of UCL final

2016 UCL Final: Diego Godin vs Real Madrid's BBC - Revenge loading?

May 27, 2016 By Michelle Bonsu
Two years later, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid meet yet again in the UCL final. And a certain Atleti player will be eager to even the scores this time around.

Two years ago, Diego Godin thought he had done enough to help Atletico Madrid finally end their long wait for European club football's biggest title.

The 2013/2014 campaign had been a widely successful one for Los Rojiblancos. Diego Simeone's side had ended the two-party stranglehold on La Liga enjoyed by Barcelona and Real Madrid by winning their first domestic title since the 1995/1996 season. Ironically, Atleti had to play none other than the Blaugrana on the last matchday, which took place on May 17, 2014.

Diego Godin: The man who nearly won a double for Atletico Madrid in 2014

That game finished as a one-all draw, which enabled Atletico Madrid to celebrate being champions of Spain for the first time in 18 years. And the architect of that clutch goal? None other than Diego Godin, who scored the title-winning goal via a header.

A week later, the Uruguayan international grabbed another vital goal, and again it was through a header. But unfortunately, it was not enough, and he and his teammates had to watch their bitter cross town rivals Real Madrid lift the Champions League trophy for a unprecedented 10th time.

Well, fate is indeed a very interesting thing, as two years later, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will square off once again. The venue may have changed, but the stage is still the same: the Champions League final.

Many of the protagonists from the 2014 clash will also be on the pitch, including three of the men who scored on that evening in Lisbon: Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and, of course, the aforementioned Godin.

The rematch at the Stadio San Siro: Godin vs Bale, Benzema, and Cristiano

Since that day on May 24, 2014, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid have clashed four times in La Liga, plus one two legged meeting in both the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Super Cup.

Simeone's side have not lost any of these matches. Moving on to Atleti's Champions League run so far - they have had to take on two European titans to get to this juncture - first Barcelona, and then Bayern Munich. Having had to keep the likes of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Robert Lewandowski, and Thomas Muller quiet is certainly no easy task. Now, having to do so in back-to-back games is something that would likely give most defenders nightmares.

Probably not so much for Godin. So far, in this season's Champions League, he has featured in all but one of Atletico Madrid's Champions League matches, with his sole absence being in the 1-0 win over Bayern due to an injury. 

On Saturday, he will be again tasked with helping his team stop yet another feared group of attackers in Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo. And a quick study of some of their numbers reveals some very interesting things. Let's have a look.

Although Bale's 19 goals were the fewest scored out of the "BBC", the Welsh star does have something unique his colleagues don't: a knack for scoring goals via header. Here is a very interesting fact:

  • Nine of Bale's 19 La Liga goals were headers this season. That's nearly 50 per cent.

No other player - not even top league scorers like Harry Kane, Suarez, Lewandowski, or Zlatan Ibrahimovic - could lay claim to this. And this is where Godin comes in. Here is another stat:

  •  Over half of Godin's 71 clearances in the Champions League were headed ones.

In addition, Bale has yet to open his Champions League account. The man who has scored the most headers in Europe versus the man who has made the most headed clearances. All the makings for an interesting aerial battle indeed.

Both Godin and Bale scored, yes, a goal via header in the 2014 Champions League final. Will either man do so on Saturday to inspire his team to victory?

But let us not forget. There are two other members of the "BBC". And one of them will be really gunning to add more goals to his tally, especially given that he was hampered by injury and unable to make much of an impact against Manchester City.

Godin, of course, and Cristiano Ronaldo, are no strangers to each other, and it goes without saying that the two men won't be getting together for a drink anytime soon. We have already noted that he has the highest number of clearances in the Champions League, and here are a couple more stats that will perhaps look for good reading as he prepares to lead Atleti's defense on Saturday:

  • Godin has won about 61 per cent of his overall duels, as per Squawka.
  • This breaks down to 22 out of his 36 attempted tackles (about 61 per cent);
  • 30 out of 45 aerial duels (about 67 per cent)
  • and in terms of fouls, it's 50-50 (10 suffered, 10 committed)
  • So far, he's only picked up two yellow cards

All of these stats, however, are just that, statistics. What naturally will count will be what actually takes place on the pitch in Italy's fashion capital in less than 24 hours' time.

So, in summary, despite what Atletico Madrid and Diego Godin may say in public, there is an additional, non quantifiable factor: revenge. And as they say, "Revenge is a dish best served cold".

Well, given the spicy nature of any Madrid Derby, should Atleti come out on top, this platter of "revenge" for Godin will be a piping hot one - but all the more sweet nonetheless.

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