Juve vs. Real Madrid
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Kick off: 7:45PM
Real Madrid head into Saturday’s (today) showdown with Juventus looking to become the first team to successfully retain the Champions League trophy.
Juventus has not won the competition since 1996 but having already overcome Barcelona on the way to the final in Cardiff, Massimiliano Allegri will be confident of making it a Spanish double.
With Real, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid expected to continue their recent dominance in the competition, one could have got relatively big odds on Juventus winning this season’s Champions League but the signs have always been there that they are ready to get their hands back on the trophy after more than two decades without success.
While Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann will always receive the plaudits, the famous Juventus backline has been the best in Europe for some time and the team as a whole are only now getting the recognition they deserves because their defensive sturdiness is being matched by flair in the final third.
Earlier in 2017, reports began to emerge that Zinedine Zidane was in danger of losing his job at the Bernabeu if the club failed to win either La Liga or retain the Champions League crown they won against Atletico Madrid last year.
While it did not necessarily come as a surprise to those aware of the culture at Real, it seemed a staggering possibility with the club legend being on the brink of potentially writing his name into the record books after an outstanding first full season in charge.
Ronaldo has scored 10 times in this year’s competition and you would not back against him adding to that tally in south Wales, but as many as a dozen different players have gotten on the scoresheet in their 12 matches, even without Marcelo, Luka Modric and James Rodriguez netting any goals.
Juve possible XI: Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alves, Sandro, Khedira, Pjanic, Dybala, Mandzukic, Higuain.
Real Madrid XI: Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Isco, Ronaldo, Benzema.