Real Madrid, the team that has won the Champions League a record 11 number of times is on the cusp of creating history. An opportunity to win the most elusive title there is to offer in club football for the second time in a row is at stake, and the Los Blancos would be ready and raring to go to lay their hands on the coveted trophy. Something, which they have done twice in the last three seasons.
What stands in the way of Zinedine Zidane’s men though, is Massimiliano Allegri's Juventus. A team that has made it to the finals twice in the last three seasons, previously losing out to Barcelona in 2015. The Old Lady doesn’t boast of an immaculate pedigree in continental football compared to their Madrid counterparts, but they should not be considered the underdogs in this tie by any means as they have made it to the finals riding on some excellent all-round displays in attack and defense. Adding to all that, this might be the last time legendary Juventus goalkeeper, Gianluigi Buffon, now 39, ever participates in a UEFA competition and his team would be looking desperately to try and give their great goalie a fitting farewell.
With the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Toni Kross, Gianluigi Buffon, Paolo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Dani Alves participating, sets the tie up to be a mouth-watering prospect. We take a look at who has the better chance at winning the coveted title.
When you have someone like Cristiano Ronaldo in your ranks, you can never be wrong to expect a miracle. The Portuguese marksman has been the top scorer in the competition, netting ten times and has been in the inspirational form of late. He almost single-handedly won the La Liga for Real Madrid, after putting in excellent performances against Sevilla and Malaga. The 11-time Champions League winners would be looking up to their talisman to score as many goals as possible and given the current form that he is in, anything is possible. Adding to that, the venue of the final, Cardiff, which is another of Real’s superstars’ home and when Gareth Bale would take on to the field, he would hope to give his fans a real treat.
(Image Courtesy: Reuters)
The Los Blancos though have a seeming weakness at the back, and their top-heavy formation is a major area of concern for the Galacticos. They have shipped in 17 goals in the Champions League and their goalkeeper Keylor Navas has looked out of sorts in more than occasion.
If Real aim to win, they shall make quick amends in their defensive unit; and if done so, then there would be no stopping them.
The Old Lady, on the other hand, boasts of a solid defense. They have conceded only three goals in the entire competition, and the reason behind that is the solid three-man defense of Chiellini, Bonnuci and Barzagli. These are the three solid defenders, who have all worked tirelessly to make sure that the Old Lady is not leaky at the back. Not to forget, they have arguably the best goalkeeper of this generation in Buffon and the experienced veteran would be looking to add that elusive Champions League medal to his tally; something which has surprisingly eluded him in his already illustrious career.
(Image Courtesy: 101 Great Goals)
Juventus looks a strong unit at upfront as well. With the likes of Paolo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain in top form, the Bianconeri should not have a problem in scoring goals, should Juventus concede. The daunting and timely runs of Dani Alves can also not be ignored, as it just adds to the attacking prowess of Allegri’s men, with the defender himself being a lethal goal-scoring threat.
(Image Courtesy: Italy 24)
One place where Juventus could face problems is their midfield as the likes of Pjanic and Khedira would come up against the likes of Kross and Modric. However, for Allegri, who is considered to be a better tactician than his Madrid counterpart, Zidane, he shall come up some strategy to keep the ball from Real’s midfield to give Juventus an edge in more departments than one.
Among many things that this tie promises, one thing is that it would not disappoint. It is the best attack in the contest pitted against arguably the best defense in Europe. While Real Madrid would play it for history, Juventus and Buffon would play it for glory. This is a tie between two of Europe’s heavyweights and on a night where dreams could be made or shattered, which makes it a delight for every football purist.
(Featured Image Courtesy: Managing Madrid)