Juventus’ last roll of the dice for Buffon?

Date:18th May 2017 at 11:04am
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Juventus will take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final on June 3 hoping to claim Europe’s top honours for the first time in 21 years.

Not since Marcello Lippi was in charge of an Old Lady side containing the likes of Fabrizio Ravanelli, Alessandro Del Piero and current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte have the Turin fans been able to witness their heroes lift the trophy.

They beat Ajax on penalties on that occasion and have been back to the final four times since but always come up short, with a 3-1 loss to Barcelona two seasons ago their latest disappointment.

Conversely, Real have won the tournament twice in the past three seasons and are favourites to claim their 12th European title in Cardiff next month.

Most pundits are suggesting that the Spanish side will triumph but Juve have already shown this season that they have matured as a side and can take on the big boys.

The way they went about dismantling Barcelona over two legs in the quarter-finals was an Italian masterclass, with an ability to soak up pressure and play without the ball at the Nou Camp that augurs well for the final.

Once again Juve are set to win the Serie A title but it is European glory that the fans desire and, in Massimiliano Allegri, they have a coach who might just be able to deliver.

The 49-year-old ex-Milan chief has worked wonders with the Bianconeri and now just needs the Champions League to crown a memorable three years at the club.

He has been linked with a number of big European clubs but has stayed loyal and might just reap the rewards in the Welsh capital.

Standing in their way will be a Real side who simply know how to win both domestically and in Europe and they will, quite rightly, start as favourites.

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Any side containing Cristiano Ronaldo will always have a chance as he has the ability to make something out of nothing and has scored an incredible 88 goals from 87 appearances in Europe’s elite club competition.

The 32-year-old has 10 to his name in this season and will clearly be the man that Juve need to stop.

But Real have many other threats, with Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and former Juventus star Alvaro Morata all capable of getting on the score sheet and, given their potency in attack, it seems inevitable that the La Liga giants will score on the night.

Allegri cannot call on that sort of firepower and may have to rely on either Gonzalo Higuain or Paulo Dybala for his side’s goals, with the former netting 32 in all competitions this term and Dybala 17.

No other player is in double figures but they are a solid hardworking unit and that is the greatest chance they have of upsetting the odds.

The clubs have met 18 times over the years, with nine wins apiece, but it is high time that Juventus were back in the winner’s circle.

There has been talk that yet another final defeat would damage the Black and Whites but there is strong leadership both in the dug-out and among the owners and, with little opposition in Italy to challenge their dominance, the fans are always likely to have some silverware at the end of the season.

But will it be the big one?