Champions League Final Preview

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Real Madrid can seal their third Champions League in four years with victory over Juventus.

The two European giants head to Cardiff on June 3 having both won their respective leagues, but the La Liga champions will be the favourites. Juve are at 2/1 and Real at 13/8, but if the Old Lady can perform at their best, they may have some chance of keeping Zinedine Zidane’s men out.

The Bianconeri will have no concerns about their infamously tight defensive pairing of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini. The bigger question will be whether they can rely on Gonzalo Higuain against his former club. The Argentina international doesn’t always step up in the big games, though he did score a brace in the semi-final against Monaco. Paulo Dybala could be the player who dictates how Juve do going forward, though he’s at 6/1 to score first.

The obvious choice to score first is Cristiano Ronaldo, and there are certainly no question marks about his record in this competition. The Portuguese superstar has scored 103 Champions League goals, including 10 in what has supposedly been a slightly below-par current campaign.

There will also be a lot of attention on the men on the sidelines. Max Allegri can cement his reputation as arguably Europe’s finest manager if his men triumph and the game will be extra special for Zidane, as it comes against the club for whom he played for five years.

Juventus’ appeal in the eyes of the neutrals stems not only from the fact that they will be slight underdogs, but because this is the last chance for the legendary Gianluigi Buffon to win a well-deserved Champions League. Real’s European dominance gives a gut feeling that they will complete an extraordinary double, but they haven’t come up against anyone quite as difficult to get past as Juventus yet.