The clash of the European heavyweights
Juventus will win the 2016/2017 UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid. My Spanish bee friends will not be happy with this prediction. What makes me say this?
Let’s look at Juventus history first.
Winner of Serie A 33 times, Coppa Italia 12 times, the European Cup 2 times, Cup Winners Cup once, the UEFA Cup 3 times.
La Liga Champions 33 times, Copa Del Rey 19 times, the European Cup 11 times, the UEFA Cup 2 times.
On the European stage, Real Madrid are the kings of European football. They are the European powerhouse boasting the striking powers of Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema. They are managed by a Real Madrid legend in his day, Zinedine Zidane who knows a thing or two about playing at the very top.
A powerhouse in the Italian league, Juventus’s return of just two European Cups seems to be rather poor even though they have won the league title the same number of times as Real Madrid. Much like my own team Manchester United who although they have captured the English league title a record 20 times have just managed only three European Cups.
The domestic performance
In their domestic leagues, Real Madrid have scored 2.79 goals per match while Juventus have managed just above 2 goals per match (with still one more match to play left in their domestic season).
Real Madrid can score and can hurt any opposing team on their day. There is no doubt about that.
Author in Source Title
However, Juventus’s defence is superior. They have conceded 0.70 goals per match compared to Real Madrid’s 1.08.
And therein lies a crucial factor. Juventus can defend much better than Real Madrid in their respective leagues.
Author in Source Title
The European performance
Real Madrid are 1st in the UEFA ranking 2015/16 while Juventus are in 9th.
In the knockout stages, Real Madrid overcame Napoli, Bayern Munich and Athletico Madrid. RM won home and away against Napoli and Bayern Munich (not an easy feat), and won at home against Athletico in the semis.
Juventus overcame FC Porto home and away, but their most impressive performance was against Barcelona at home 3–0. In the semis Juve overcame Monaco home and away.
Ronaldo plundered 10 goals, while Benzema and Morata scored 5 and 3 respectively. The most assists came from Ronaldo (5) and Carvajal (4). Ronaldo is without doubt Real Madrid’s key player. He is a lethal finisher and my feeling is that he will be heavily marked come final day.
Higuan, Dybala and Alves have all contributed 5, 4 and 3 goals during the UEFA Champions league season. The most assists have come from Alves (4) and Pjanic (3).
Who will be the victors?
Both teams no doubt have a glittering footballing history. On their day anyone can win. I am putting my money on Juventus because I think they will play a patient game, absorbing Real Madrid’s attacks and then go on the counter. All they need is a one nil. I suspect it will be more than that. No matter the score, the football neutral like me hopes for a pulsating and exciting European final!
When is the final? Will you be watching?
This article first appeared on: