Champions League Final: Irresistible Real Madrid take on immovable Juventus

Ross Houston
June 3, 2017

"In 2015 we got to the final and deserved it but perhaps we didn't feel confident enough because we had come out of a number of years of struggling in the Champions League". For a decade, that record has been held by Paolo Maldini, a victor with AC Milan at age 38. For me personally, getting to the final is a great joy. "We have worked hard to get here, and have a good mindset".

That has led to influential members of the Bernabeu boardroom arguing that Bale could well be the high-profile player to leave this summer, if they do want to follow their usual policy of signing a "Galactico". He struggled a little a year ago, but this term he has approached big games with the right mentality and I am sure he won't suffer the pressure.

"I certainly haven't been having dreams about the likes of Ronaldo and Benzema". We have completely different roles. "I got more than I gave, but that would be the ideal finale and people like fairytales".

The Grammy Award-winning eclectic hip-hop group will be entertaining the Cardiff stadium crowd just before Juventus and Real Madrid meet in the biggest club game in world soccer.

Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon might well be the greatest goalkeeper of his generation.

But, at the age of 39, the World Cup victor finally has a chance to win the trophy he dreams of when Massimiliano Allegri's side face holders Real Madrid under the roof in Cardiff.

But Welsh fans hoping to see their home favorite should be prepared for disappointment on Saturday.

The same was true two years earlier, when Real again overcame their local rivals Atletico to win the 2014 Champions League title, and Ronaldo was a largely peripheral presence until his last-minute penalty made the scoreline 4-1 after the outcome had already been settled. The more creative Francisco "Isco" Alarcon might retain his place in the lineup instead.

The right back quickly became an undisputed starter after coach Zinedine Zidane took over as coach past year.

"Really in the long run we're not favourite, Juventus are not favourite".

"They defend very well but nowadays they attack very well too", he said of the Italian champions who reached Saturday's final conceding three goals in 12 games. It's not only mentally, of course. "Not just mentally, but above all, physically".

"I think he (Ronaldo) is a good person".

Juventus is preparing to cope with both Alarcon and Bale.

"If we had played together, the star of the team would have been Ronaldo, because he is the one who scores goals".

United's interest in Bale long predates their pursuit of Griezmann, having tried to sign the Welsh global when he first moved to Madrid in 2013, and it now looks like an opportunity may present itself.

Attack could be more clinical: Real Madrid's attack is a strong one.

A head coach for only 17 months, the former France playmaker can become the first manager to win back-to-back European Cups since AC Milan's Arrigo Sacchi in 1989 and 1990 and the first in the Champions League era.

To prevail, Juve must shed their status of perennial Champions League bridesmaids, having finished runners-up on a record six occasions and lost their last four finals.

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