It’s the irresistible force against the immovable object as Real Madrid takes on Juventus tomorrow night at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Will the Galacticos keep the “big ears” in Madrid or will the Old Lady of Italian football take it from them and return it to Turin for the first time in over two decades? These are some of the questions we will be itching to have answered when the game kicks off at 7:45 pm, local time tomorrow. Before then, take a look at Real’s credentials again!
1. Defending Champions. Won 2014 and 2016 and want badly to become the first team to retain the title since the competition was named the UEFA Champions League. If there is any team that is capable of this feat, it has to be this Spanish team, as this competition holds a very special place in the heart of the club.
2. They won the first five editions of the tournament and are the most successful team in the history of the competition with eleven titles. Four teams (AC Milan, Ajax, Juventus and Manchester United) have tried in the past to win the UCL in consecutive years and all four of them have failed. Real Madrid will be the fifth team to try and with their rich pedigree in the competition, it will be hard to bet against them creating another piece of history.
3. Winning ratio. They have a 79% winning ratio in the finals of this competition as they have lost only three of the fourteen they have contested and that is also another reason why they will be the favourites going into this game.
4. They are the biggest and most successful team in Europe and won the 2015/2016 league under the tutelage of their then new coach – Zinedine Zidane.
5. They have the explosive attacking trio of Benzema, Bale and Cristiano.
6. Tomorrow’s game takes place in Gareth Bale’s hometown and even though the attacker’s not played for the most of the season due to injury, he’s now been declared fit to play.
How they compare
Both teams have an array of world-class talent that will be on display tomorrow night. Juventus are known for their resolute and organised defending, while Real are known for their very devastating attack. However, Juventus can be said to be the more balanced of both sides as they also possess a very hard working midfield and a potent attack with the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Paolo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic, which can rip any defense to shreds on their day. Real have a very creative and dynamic midfield with the likes of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemeiro, but their defense is not that solid and that could be their Achilles’ heel tomorrow.
Zinedine Zidane will have a major selection problem ahead of this game as the club’s most expensive player, Gareth Bale has been declared fit to play and the Frenchman will have to decide if he should start with the Welshman or go with Isco, who has arguably been Real Madrid’s best player this season. Daniel Carvajal, who had been ruled out of the season, might just have a little chance to be a part of the team as he has recovered from his injury and feature in Wales. Max Allegri does not have any fresh injury concerns for this game. The only player he will be missing will be Marko Pjaca.
This promises to be a very interesting tactical battle and it is also important to note that Real have scored in every game they have been involved in this season, while Juventus have only conceded three goals and scored twenty-one in the twelve matches they have played in the UCL. This is going to be the proverbial battle between the irresistible force against the immovable object and no matter the outcome, football will be the winner.