UEFA Champions League 2016/17: Ranking the semi-finalists
We are inching towards the business end of the UEFA Champions League this season and with the recently concluded quarter-finals, only four teams are left who have a chance of crowning themselves the champions of Europe.
Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Monaco and Real Madrid are the ones left with a shout at winning the trophy and the semi-final draw threw up interesting matchups. Juventus and Monaco face off in a superb battle while Atletico Madrid face Real Madrid in the El Derbi Madrileno.
So, let's rank the semi-finalists in order of their chances to win the Champions League.
#4 AS Monaco
The dark horses in this year’s tournament, AS Monaco have surprised one and all with their irresistible attacking play throughout the season. The Ligue 1 side have scored 90 goals in 32 league games this season, the second-highest in Europe’s top five leagues behind Spanish side Barcelona’s 91 goals in the same number of games.
Led by Leonardo Jardim and consisting of a bunch of exciting young talents like Thomas Lemar, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy, Fabinho and Kylian Mbappe, Monaco are fighting for the Ligue 1 title with Paris Saint-Germain and are now set to compete for a place in the Champions League final against Juventus.
Monaco topped their group consisting of London club Tottenham, Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen and Russia’s CSKA Moscow. They then contested in one of the most exciting ties in the round of 16 against Manchester City with Radamel Falcao, the captain, leading the line with aplomb, like he has done all season. The club from the principality then drew another young exciting side in Borussia Dortmund at the quarter-finals stage - whom they beat in both legs as Kylian Mbappe ran riot to book them a place in the last four.
In the semi-finals, Monaco are up against the best defensive side in the tournament in Juventus. Their youthful exuberance in contrast to the experienced Juventus side, the Ligue 1 side have a tough ask in making it to the final.
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However, the Ligue 1 side are the neutral’s favourites for this tournament and they will be ready as per the words of their club vice-president Vadim Vasilyev.
“It will be a matter of revenge, clearly. We're better than two years ago, no doubt about it. At this level of competition, we knew we were going to play a big team. All teams are on top. We played Juventus two years ago in the quarter-finals and since then they have strengthened themselves. It is only the happiness of being at this stage of the competition. We will do everything to qualify. Juventus can defend but we know we score goals,” quipped Vasilyev in a recent interview.