Virtually every year, the teams that are in the Champions League Final have been through a nightmare to reach the last game of the European club season. Rare though, is the season when we legitimately have arguably the two best teams in the world playing in this game. This year, we could certainly make the debate that Juventus and Real Madrid are the two best teams on the planet.
Real Madrid won La Liga this season, and typically, the team that comes out of Spain is accepted as having gone through the most brutal league in Europe. Los Blancos had their ups and downs for sure, and they weren't quite as dominant as Barcelona was at times, but they did score 106 goals, including a stunning 58 on the road.
Furthermore, Real Madrid has the best player in the world on its side at the moment in Cristiano Ronaldo. CR7 now has over 100 goals in his Champions League career, including 10 here in this tournament. He put together a hat trick to see off Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals, and the only thing standing between him and the Golden Boot for the Champions League is a pair of goals in the finale. Lionel Messi has 11 goals to lead the way, but Barcelona was long since dismissed.
Zinedine Zidane's side has really had a tough route to get into the finale. Real Madrid had to win a 180-minute Madrid Derby with Atletico Madrid in the semis before needing 210 minutes to see off Bayern Munich in the quarters. The team also had to challenge Napoli in the Round of 16 after going through a group with Borussia Dortmund, Legia Warsaw and Sporting.
Real Madrid might have the best goal scorer on the planet, but Juventus has the best goalie in the world. Since the Ballon d'Or was created in 2010, only one keeper has even finished in the top three, Manuel Neuer in 2014. Some believe that Gianluigi Buffon is going to win the award this year. It'll be a tough task to outdo a man who has finished either first or second in the Ballon d'Or race in each of the last five seasons. That, of course, isn't the issue at hand. Buffon has a total of just three goals in this entire tournament, including just one in six matches in the knockout rounds.
Juventus has dismissed Porto, Barcelona and AS Monaco from the Champions League, and the task really doesn't get a heck of a lot bigger than that at this level.
The Old Lady won Serie A by putting together a 29-4-5 record, and their dominance at home couldn't be understated. Juventus outscored its 19 Italian rivals 48-9 in an 18-1-0 season domestically.
This is the third time in recent history these two teams have played against each other. These two were grouped together in the 2013-14 edition of the event. Real Madrid won 2-1 at home in the first of the two matchups, while in the return match in Turin, the clubs drew 2-2.
In the knockout rounds two years ago, Juventus advanced past Real Madrid 3-2 on aggregate in spite of the fact that Ronaldo scored both goals for Los Blancos.
These two teams are basically dead even on the Champions League odds. Real Madrid is a -135 favorite to ultimately get the job done at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Neither team is odds-on to win this match inside of 90 minutes. Real is set at +150 on the moneyline against the +185 of Juventus. The total is set at a flat 2.
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