It is the day of reckoning at Cardiff, and the two sides are ready to face each other a step ahead of the last time they squared against each other. Real Madrid faces the tough test of Juventus on their way to the twelfth European Championship, while Buffon looks to get one onto his trophy cabinet for the first time. Here are the match Preview and Predictions for the UEFA Champions League Final : Juventus vs Real Madrid.
While Real Madrid had the tough test of Madrid-derby in the semi-finals of the competition, the Old Lady defeated the likes of high-scoring teams such as Barcelona and AS Monaco. No team had ever won the competition twice in a row since its reincarnation in the year 1993, with AC Milan being the last team to achieve the feat when they doubled their record in 1989 and 1990.
On the other hand, Juventus have won the Champions League in the year 2006 last time under the Italian Marcello Lippi and will look to overpower the finalists Madrid, as their last four final appearances have ended with runners-up against their name.
The Serie A champions could become the ninth team to achieve the treble of league, domestic cup and European titles and only the second Italian club in history to do so after Inter Milan in the 2009/10 season, while Barcelona has achieved the treble twice in the last decade.
Real Madrid would be hopeful of the return of Gareth Bale, who had suffered an injury way back in the El-Clasico which ruled him out from any of the matches since April 23.
The French manager would have to make the decision of choosing between the midfielder Isco and the winger Gareth Bale for the all-important finals at Cardiff. Alongside the winger, Spanish defender Dani Carvajal is all set to feature in the playing XI after being ruled available for the game.
For the Old Lady, Max Allegri would have to choose from the list of Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic and Claudio Marchisio with places only for two midfielders while Mario Mandzukic has been ruled fit.
This is the 19th encounter between Juventus and Real Madrid – all in the European Cup/Champions League, making this the second-most played fixture in the history of Europe’s premier club competition after Bayern Munich v Real Madrid (24).
The head-to-head record between Juventus and Real Madrid is perfectly balanced, with eight wins each and two draws. However, their only previous meeting in the Champions League final saw Real Madrid win 1-0 in 1998 thanks to a Pedrag Mijatovic goal.
Real Madrid have reached the European Cup/Champions League final for the 15th time, four more than any other club (AC Milan, 11). They’ve won 11 of the previous 14, again more than any other team in history. In fact, they’ve won each of their last five finals in the competition, last losing in 1981 against Liverpool.
Juventus are the only unbeaten team in this season’s Champions League (W9 D3). They are the first team since Atlético Madrid in 2013/14 to reach the final without losing a single game.
In fact, no team has lifted the Champions League trophy without suffering a single defeat since Manchester Utd did it in 2007/08.
Real Madrid have scored in every single one of their 12 games in the Champions League this season (32 goals, most prolific attack) but have also kept only one clean sheet; it was against Atlético Madrid in the semi-final first leg (3-0).
In fact, Real Madrid have conceded the opening goal in five of their six knockout games this season whilst Juventus have never trailed at any point in this season’s knockout phase.
Gianluigi Buffon will become the third oldest player to feature in a European Cup/Champions League final (39 years and 4 months) after Dino Zoff (41 years and 2 months in the 1983 final) and Edwin van der Sar (40 years and 6 months in the 2011 final).
Dani Alves has scored more goals (10) and delivered more assists (25) than any other full-back in the Champions League since his debut in 2007/08. If he plays, it will be his 100th game in the competition and would become only the second Brazilian player to reach that milestone after Roberto Carlos.
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Cristiano Ronaldo has reached the 10-goal mark for the sixth consecutive Champions League campaign – no other player has done it on more than two consecutive seasons (Messi, Van Nistelrooy). He’s also played more than any other outfield player in this season’s competition (1110 minutes).
This will be Ronaldo’s fifth European Cup/Champions League final. Only three players have featured in more: Paolo Maldini, Paco Gento (8), Alfredo Di Stéfano (7).
Three of the last five Champions League finals have gone to extra-time, including two which have been decided on penalties.
Wales are hosting their first ever European Cup/Champions League final. They are the 16th country to do so.
With the experience of Real in a Champions League final, it is very hard but not to see them lifting the trophy for the 12th time in their history while the Old Lady would be looking to spoil the party for the Los Blancos.
Key to Juventus in this match would be the Brazilian right-back Dani Alves, who has played a large part of his career against Spanish opponents in the La Liga and the experience would be vital on the day of reckoning, alongside the veteran keeper Gigi Buffon, who would want to bow out with a European Trophy against his name.