Can Gianluigi Buffon stop Real Madrid from securing further European glory?
After wrapping up another La Liga title, Real Madrid have their eyes firmly set on being crowned champions of Europe for an unprecedented twelfth time. and Saturday’s final in Wales, against Serie A side Juventus, gives them the opportunity to do just that.
The Turin giants are in rude health themselves, after clinching a sixth straight Scudetto but we need to go back to the 1995/96 season, to find the last time the Old Lady were crowned as Europe’s finest, after beating Ajax on penalties.
Goals, however, are expected to be at a premium this weekend, with a very tight affair predicted.
Goal Projections – Juventus 1.12 Real Madrid 1.21
Juventus vs Real Madrid team news
Welshman Gareth Bale has declared himself fit, so all eyes will be on Zinedine Zidane’s teamsheet, to see if the holder’s record transfer is included in the starting XI.
Danial Carvajal faces a race against time to prove his fitness, so he may have to play second fiddle to Danilo in the right-back stakes.
Los Blancos have no other reported injuries, while Juve coach Max Allegri is expected to field his strongest line-up.
Juventus fantasy player to watch
Gianluigi Buffon is one of the most decorated players in world football but one trophy that has eluded him is the Champions League.
Buffon may have been beaten by a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty at the semi-fnal stage of the 2014/15 competition but it didn’t stop Juve progressing to the final, although they were well beaten by Barcelona on that occasion.
With 168 Italian caps to his name, the goalkeeper who is nicknamed ‘Superman’, will be hoping that he puts all his experience to good use on Saturday and it would be a brave man that bets against him completing his medal set.
Real Madrid fantasy player to watch
Karim Benzema has scored 3 headed goals in this season’s Champions League, helping him to a career total of 52 goals in the competition.
A groin injury ruled him out for around a month earlier in the season but 17 goals from 45 appearances in all competitions shows that the French striker remains as important as ever for the Spanish champions, even though he did endure something of a barren spell by his own high standards, when he went 6 games without scoring earlier this year.
It promises to be a tight affair which is likely to come down to small margins. Don’t be too surprised if either Buffon or Benzema make that game-winning contribution!