Real Madrid meets Juventus in a clash of European Titans
This Saturday June 3rd in Cardiff, Real Madrid will meet Juventus in the UEFA Champions league final, in what is one of the most awaited matches in the year. Real Madrid and Juventus have been dominant not only in their respective leagues and are both entering the final as champions of their respective countries, but they are also arguably the two clubs that have played the best football in Europe in the past year.
Two Historical Clubs
Both teams are kings of their respective domestic leagues, having both won it an impressive total of 33 times. Looking at this number we can clearly tell how evenly matched on a historical background these two teams are, and why they share a European rivalry that dates back 53 years ago. The clubs have gone toe-to-toe on 18 occasions during the UCL, and clashed six times on knockout rounds of the tournament, on three occasions Real Madrid have gone through to the next round or to win the trophy, and on the other three, Juventus have been victorious.
It is important to note that this isn’t the first time these two clubs meet on a UCL final. They both met in 1998 where a former Juventus player called Zinedine Zidane would score one of the most beautiful goals ever recorded in football history to give Real Madrid that year’s UEFA Champions league title. In a definitely special match for the now Real Madrid coach, will he be able to come on top once again against his former club?
And speaking of coaches, perhaps an aspect heavily talked about in relation to these two teams has been the tactics used by both their managers. Both clubs have performed superbly due to their well executed tactical displays, both teams with very balanced structured defending, but also with an ability to score goals, especially on the counter.
Although their styles can be seen as similar, their formations are not. Juventus uses a 5-2-3 formation, with wingbacks that are capable of defending as well as attacking, with the likes of Dani Alves and Alex Sandro, and focusing heavily on them to provide transitions into offense with quick counter attacks. On the other hand Real Madrid plays with a 4-2-1-3 formations, that focuses more on their midfield, with a three player diamond shape with Casemiro, Kroos, and Luka Modric that is the starting point to recover balls and initiate a transition into offense. It will be interesting to see how Juventus’ coach, Allegri tackles this problem in the midfield as he’ll be looking to not be one man short against Madrid in the middle of the field. Zidane’s main problem will be to penetrate Juventus well formed back line of five. It will be quite a showdown as Isco, Ronaldo, Benzema, and perhaps Bale try to get past Chiellini, Bonucci and legendary keeper Buffon. Sergio Ramos and Varane will also have their hands full as they look to stop Higuain, Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala.
The Key Players
Gianluigi Buffon, has never won a Champions League. He has played on two UCL finals and will be looking to not loose his third and perhaps last chance at the only trophy he has not been able to win in his career. On the other side, Cristiano Ronaldo, is looking to win one more important match and tournament during this year to increase his chances at winning one more Golden Ball and tie rival Messi at four trophies won.
Although for different reasons neither of these two legends will wanna lose this game and both will be looking to make a difference as they will collide, one as the best goalkeeper in the world, and the other as the best striker in the sport.
But among these legends will be two rising stars looking to be an important part in the game to make that next step in their respective careers. Isco will be looking to prove that he can be one of the best and be a key in important matches for Real Madrid, and Paulo Dybala is going to try and show the world that he is the next big name in the world of football and perhaps heir to Messi in his home country of Argentina, by helping Juventus finishes on top of what is an already amazing UEFA Champions League run.
Who Will Win?
The game will probably be quite balanced and tight, not only due to their tactics, but also because of the top class players that will appear on both sides. It is a possibility that this game will go into extra time or even penalties. One small difference is what will separate this two clubs in Cardiff and will award Real Madrid their 12th UEFA Champions League title or Juventus their 3rd UEFA Champions league trophy. This is a game where only one thing is clear, this will be a thriller and it will be one that no soccer fan will want to miss.
Good luck to both teams: Los Blancos and the Old Lady
What are your predictions for this match? Let your comments below.