It’s Real Madrid Against Juventus In The Champions League Final
Spanish side, Real Madrid, and Italian giants, Juventus, have booked their tickets for a June 3 date in Cardiff, where they’ll duel for the 2016-17 Champions League title.
Real Madrid survived a spirited comeback attempt by Atletico Madrid to return to the final stage, while Juventus coasted by Monaco to secure its place to square off in Wales.
This is Juventus' eighth trip to the Champions League final and the second in three seasons but they have only won the tournament twice in club history, including most recently in 1995-96 against Ajax but no club in Europe has as rich of a tradition when it comes to the Champions League as Real Madrid.
The Madrid club has reached the final for the second consecutive season, and for the third time in four years . This is their 15th trip to the final with 11 titles and three second-place finishes, more than any other club in the competition.
This is not the first time these two teams have met in the Champions League final. They met in the final in 1998 in Amsterdam, Germany. A goal Predrag Mijatović in the 66th minute saw Real Madrid come away with a 1-0 win and the title. Playing for Juventus that night was a 25-year-old Zinedine Zidane who now manages Real Madrid.
The final could come down to which BBC line is more impactful. The Real Madrid trio of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo will match up against the stout Juventus defensive trio of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini.
But Bale is unlikely to be featured due to his calf injury which would be a shame for him given the final is in his native land.
Both managers are younger than 50. Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane, at the ripe age of 44, is eyeing his second Champions League title as a manager after winning one as a player, while Juventus’s Max Allegri, at 49, seeks his first piece of European silverware.
For Gianluigi Buffon, the Juventus legend who has won nearly everything as a player, capturing multiple Serie A titles and domestic cups and a UEFA Cup and winning a World Cup with Italy, this may be his last opportunity.
The Champions League has been the last big item on his club bucket list, and after being denied in penalties vs. AC Milan in 2003 and again vs. Barcelona in 2015, he has another chance to lift the trophy that has eluded him for his legendary career.
For Real, no team has repeated as European champion since AC Milan, which accomplished the feat in 1989 and 1990. After capturing its record 11th title last season, Real Madrid is in position to set the new standard in the competition and do what no team in the last 27 years.
It's game on!