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Five players to watch out for in the UEFA Champions League Final

Aakash Sivasubramaniam

It is that time of the year as the footballing world gears itself for the biggest match of the season, the UEFA Champions League final. This year’s Champions League has seen ups and downs for many a side. A few ups would be Monaco, Juventus and downs would be Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris St. Germain. At Cardiff, it is the Real Madrid side led by the French magician Zidane against the Italian master Massimiliano Allegri’s Juventus side i.e the Fat Lady against the Los Blancos. It is a final to look forward to with Juventus’ defense going head to head against Cristiano and co. So here are the five players to watch out for in the UEFA Champions League Final.

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Juventus have made it into the final after their drubbing of AS Monaco in the semi-finals of the tournament while Real Madrid defeated their rivals Atletico Madrid yet again in the knockout stages of the tournament. Who would emerge as the winner? We would have to wait and watch.

The Sportsrush has picked up the five players you can bank on if you pick a fantasy team:

1) Cristiano Ronaldo- Real Madrid

If there was ever a player who you could trust to take your team over the line, it has to be Cristiano Ronaldo. The 32-year-old Portuguese forward has not had the season that he would have hoped for as an individual, although his team finished the season as La Liga Champions in addition to reaching the finals of the Europe’s top competition scoring ten goals in Europe to add to this tally of 30 in the entire season.

In the last four seasons, the Portuguese forward has reached the finals thrice, with two final victories over derby rivals Atletico Madrid, who they beat two times in three years. It was Ronaldo, who completed the comeback in Lisbon and he was at hand to hit the winning penalty in last year’s final. It is almost but sure that Ronaldo is going to breathe fire come this final.

2) Gianluigi Buffon- Juventus

There are not many goalkeepers in the world who could turn the match with just their saves. Iker Casillas has done with Spain/ Real Madrid, and Buffon continues to do with Italy and Juventus. What is even more staggering to see is that the 39-year-old Italian has never won a UCL title in this entire career. Is this perhaps the right time to win?

The goalkeeper, before this encounter, did not concede a goal in over 600 minutes of European action, a momentous task for a goalkeeper of any standard. If he manages to sneak in another 90 minutes of a goalless encounter, it is almost but sure that the Fat Lady will sing yet again.

3) Luka Modric – Real Madrid

The Croatian midfielder Luka Modric is probably one of the world’s most underrated midfielders at the moment. Despite Real boasting the likes of Benzema and Ronaldo at the top, they would be just as useless as a piece of wood without the help of a carpenter. The magic midfielder could carve out the pass which could lead the Los Blancos to their 12th UCL title.

It is sure that Juventus would try to put more pressure on the midfield engine of the Los Blancos if they want themselves to stand a chance to win the UCL.

4) Paulo Dybala- Juventus

The 23-year-old Argentinian Paulo Dybala has been extremely impressive this season. Dybala has emerged from the shadows of the previous strikers, Alvaro Morata and fellow Argentinian Higuain.

The left-foot of the 23-year-old has been the case for comparison with the left-foot of fellow Argentinian and probably one of the best to step on the football field- Lionel Messi. His idol became his rival when they met each other in the quarter-finals of the tournament, with the youngster scoring two important goals in the first leg to take the team home. It would be interesting to see if he takes the route of his idol and scores an amazing solo goal in front of Sergio Ramos and co.

5) Dani Alves- Juventus

The fifth choice would be difficult for any footballing fan to choose from, but Dani Alves certainly deserves a spot on the list of players to look out for. The 34-year-old Brazilian joined Juventus after his contract got over at the Camp Nou. Many believed that this was the first sign of him finally slowing down, but he has risen in spectacular fashion over the course of this season.

The 34-year-old veteran has been a man on a mission for the Fat Lady and if he manages to repeat the performance he had in the semi-finals, Juventus almost but certainly will keep a hand on to the trophy. In what would be a vital contest, the Brazilian and the Portuguese forward Ronaldo, who would lock horns on the left-side of the pitch.

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