By Yemi Babalola Lagos, Nigeria
The UEFA champions league finals is set for Cardiff, Wales in the United Kingdom on Saturday June 3, 2017. Where the roof at the Millennium Stadium would be closed for the first time in a Champions League final, with security being a “primary factor” in the reason for the decision. It is no longer news that Real Madrid would be taking on Juventus in the finals and German Felix Brych would referee the match.
This is going to be the battle of the Champions as we see the Spanish champions taking of the Italian champions in a classic football match. Putting no doubt to the fact that, this is going to be a final of all finals.
Examining both teams, clearly it is going to be a battle of every department of the team, looking at the managerial departments no doubt the men at the helm of both team are exceptional individuals. Zinedine Zidane, who coached Real Madrid to win the Spanish La Liga title and as well won this same title for the team on his debut season last year, would be looking to do so once again come Saturday. Not forgetting that this is Zidane’s first coaching job at the senior level.
Massimiliano Allegri also led Juventus to their 6th straight Seria A title and also the Coppa Italia title would be able hoping on Saturday, that he can see the team to a triple, not forgetting that Barcelona another Spanish giant killed that dream from coming through for Juventus two seasons ago. No doubt on the coaching job Allegri is more experience as he has coached teams like AC Milan, Cagliari, Sassuolo amongst others.
Looking at the back line, no doubt the Juventus side edges Real Madrid as one the world’s notable safe hands Gianluigi Buffon, who though has never won the UEFA Champions League title has been spectacular and would be in their goal post. Buffon would be well covered by the Bonucci, Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini (the BBC of Juventus) who would be hoping to stop Real Madrid’s BBC who would be on attack. This defensive side have been reliable, as they have conceded as little as possible this season.
Real Madrid has a decent defense as well in Keylor Navas in goal, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Verane, Carvajal but these stars against the Juventus defense really do not stand a chance, as the Juventus defense has been compact so far this season. Knowing that Juventus are the only unbeaten team in this season’s Champions League, they have won nine and drawn three. They are the first team since Atletico Madrid in 2013/14 to reach the final without losing a single game.
The midfield is where all would be decided as would dictate how all would turn out eventually tomorrow night. Knowing both sides boast of quality midfielders from Madrid’s Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos to Juventus’s Paulo Dybala (depending on if he is not deployed in attack), Miralem Pjanic, Juan Cuadrado, Claudio Marchisio depending on how the managers decide to select on the night clearly shows that the midfield would decide the winners.
The attacking line for Madrid at this time would be a bit of headache for manager Zidane, as he would be sweating over starting homeboy Gareth Bale ahead of Isco or James Rodriguez. As we know, that Bale is just recovering from an injury. Irrespective of this, Cristiano Ronaldo would want to make history with Madrid and cap up his chance to claim the FIFA award once again this year.
While, Juventus would be hoping Gonzalo Higuian, Mario Mandžukić, Paulo Dybala would come to party and take every opportunity they get at the other end of the goal post when they get it. 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, against Atlético Madrid in the semi-final first leg (3-0).
Historically, Madrid has won the UEFA Champions League eleven times while Juventus has won it twice in the books. Therefore, history favours Madrid, knowing also that they can break the record of becoming the first team to win this title back-to-back.
Eventually, the champion of champions would emerge tomorrow night, and that would be decided after 90 or 120 minutes or also by penalties. One thing is certain about tomorrow night; the UEFA Champions League title would be leaving Cardiff tomorrow night to Europe.