Juventus against Real Madrid is a battle of two clubs with rich history, two clubs who have come together multiple times over the years and two clubs who boss legends and fantastic youngsters at the same time with impressive squads. The two also have great tactical masterminds on the touchline.
As with an impressive squad, there are multiple key battles and little anecdotes for the tie with the first leg approaching.
- Casillas vs Buffon: The two goalkeeping legends have over 1250 club appearances between them and been custodians for their national team for many years too. In a footballing world where most of the captains are outfielders, the two lead their teams but from the back of the defence. The influence for both of them has diminished in light of a growing number of quality younger keepers, but their legendary status and place in their respective teams remains unchallenged. The two share admiration and respect for each other and it has been visible over the years when the duo have come together for club and country alike. Over on the grand stage of the Champions League, the difference between the two is striking though. While both have won numerous trophies in a glittering career, Casillas has three Champions League medals at home while Buffon is still in search for his first.
- Alvaro Morata: Product of Real Madrid’s youth academy, Morata moved to Juventus in the summer after not getting any real opportunities to make a mark in Madrid despite warming the bench for months. He did score some crucial goals for Los Blancos but wasn’t getting the playing time he wished or deserved. In Turin, he’s been shuffled around and played 40 matches scoring 21 goals. In the Champions League, he scored in both legs against Borussia Dortmund. A player who came up through the La Fabrica ranks, will have an emotional return – especially if he plays.
- Coaches: Carlo Ancelotti managed Juventus between 1999 and 2001. This time he’ll be going up against them which is something he’s done multiple times before especially when he was AC Milan manager. Against Juventus, Ancelotti doesn’t have the greatest of record: W6 D7 L11. For Juventus boss, Massimiliano Allegri, this would be an attempt at revenge after his Milan side lost 2-0 and drew 2-2 to Real Madrid in the 2010/11 group stages.
Familiar faces and anecdotes:
- Zinedine Zidane, former Real Madrid manager and current Castilla manager, joined Real Madrid from Juventus where he played between 1996 and 2001. Zizou was part of the Juventus side that lost 1-0 to Real Madrid in the 1997/98 Champions League final.
- Fernando Llorente was a sight to fear whenever Athletic came in to town. With his massive frame and ability to attack the aerial delivery (and our incapability to defend them), he scored seven goals in 17 appearances against the club. But unfortunately he was on the winning side in only one of those games.
- It will be a coming together of old Manchester United teammates – Carlos Tevez, Patrice Evra and Cristiano Ronaldo. They won the 2008 Champions League together.
- Paul Pogba (missing the first leg due to injury) made his international debut alongside Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane. Also involved in that game was Karim Benzema.
- Head-to-head: P16, Juventus 7, Real Madrid 8, 1 draw.
- 32 – The 1998 Champions League final win for Real Madrid – seventh title – ended the club’s 32 year wait for the trophy. Predrag Mijatovic got that goal.
- Juventus are unbeaten in 12 home matches in European competitions, with four out of five being wins in this season’s competition. Overall, they’ve lost just once since moving to the newly designed Juventus Stadium.
- Real Madrid have not conceded an away goal in 444 minutes of competition – since conceding early to Ludogorets in the Group stages. In the last 11 away games, Real have won 8, drawn 2 and lost just once to Borussia Dortmund last season (2-0).
- Italy is a tough place to play in for Real Madrid. They’ve not won in Italy in the last seven visits. Last success was against AS Roma in the 2004/05 Group stages. Overall away record is: W4 D8 L17.
A little preview courtesy folks at Oulala Games: