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Juventus will look to break their 20-year European jinx when they take on reigning champions Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final 2016/17, at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, on Saturday night.
The Bianconeri haven’t won the most elite European competition since their last triumph way back in 1995/96, but will be looking to change that against Zinedine Zidane’s Los Galacticos. They made it to the finals, after defeating French Ligue1 Champions Monaco 4-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals. Juventus have had an excellent defensive record in the competition, having conceded just 3 goals throughout and will be looking to stifle an in-form Madrid attack.
The Italian Serie A champions will be without midfielder Marko Pjaca, who ruptured his cruciate ligament while on international duty for Croatia, back in March and had been ruled out for the season. Sami Khedira returned to action in Juve’s final league game after picking up an injury against Monaco in the semi-finals while Mario Mandzukic is also expected to be fit to play.
The 39-year old legend has won everything that there is to be won, except the Champions League crown. He will be itching to get his hands on that elusive trophy.
The Italian may be 36 years old, but remains a stalwart in the backline for Juventus. Will need to be on his toes against Cristiano Ronaldo.
Arguably the best centre-half in the game right now, Bonucci will be the key for the Italians’ chances of finishing as the winners on Saturday.
Completing the three-man defence will be the brilliant Giorgio Chiellini, rendering the backline an aura of impregnability. Will be a threat from set-pieces in the Real Madrid box.
Has been an excellent signing for Juve coming in for free from Barcelona last summer. Will be keen on thwarting Madrid, more so due to his Barca loyalty.
Another excellent summer buy, Pjanic has seamlessly transitioned into the lynchpin of the Juventus midfield. Madrid will have to keep him quiet.
The German international will come in with an added motive of proving a point or two against his former employers.
Quietly impressive down the left-side, the Brazilian doesn’t always get his dues. He will be key going forward as he will look to provide the width for the Italians.
‘La Joya’ has become one of the most dangerous attackers in Europe over the past two years. Having blown Barcelona out of the reckoning in the quarter-finals, he would be intent on doing the same to Madrid as well.
The Croatian has impressed in an unfamiliar role on the left channel. Offers so much to the team with his hard work and is a huge threat from set-pieces.
Will be relishing going up against former teammate, Sergio Ramos. Having been in top form in the semi-finals, expect him to pose a serious threat to the reigning champions.