FINALLY!, BUFFON WINS UCL AT 39
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Welcome to the UEFA Champions league Final, (Wales, Cardiff 2017).
JUVENTUS VS REAL MADRID (kick-Off: Saturday, June 3rd, Time: 7:45pm local time).
It is imperative to note that Wales are hosting their first ever European Cup/Champions League final. Which makes it the 17th country to do so.
This is the 19th encounter between Juventus and Real Madrid - all in the European Cup/Champions League, making this the second-most played fixture in the history of Europe's premier club competition after Bayern Munich v Real Madrid (24).
The 2017 final is a repeat of the 1998 showpiece, with holders Real Madrid aiming to be the first team to retain the UEFA Champions League title which we all know as Back-to-back and Juventus seeking a third European crown.
It is also exciting to note that the 1998 final in Amsterdam, won 1-0 by Real Madrid against a Juventus side featured current Los blancos coach Zinédine Zidane. That gave the Spaniards the seventh of their record 11 European Cups.
Will Zenedine Zidane snatch this?, oh! We've got 39 years old Gianluggi Buffon (the oldest player in this encounter) in between the sticks for JUVENTUS looking to win the second most treasured football tournament after his world cup heroics with Italy in 2006. Well a good way to sign out an illustrious career.
But we'll find out!!.
JUVENTUS CHAMPIONS LEAGUE STATISTICS
Juventus have won the trophy twice, in 1985 and 1996, but have lost in the final six times, (more than any other club).
Juventus have won nine and drawn three of their 12 games in this season's competition, and are seeking to become the first team to lift the trophy unbeaten since Manchester United FC in 2007/08. Manchester United were the sixth club to win the UEFA Champions League without losing a match.
STRENGTH AT THE FINALS
This is ninth European Cup final appearance for Juventus, who have lost their last four. Overall their record at the Final is W2 L6:
Juve have lost the fixture more times than any other club – four. Indeed, their last victory was on penalties – against AFC Ajax in 1996.
1972/73 : AFC Ajax 1-0 Juventus
1982/83 : Hamburger SV 1-0 Juventus
1984/85 : Juventus 1-0 Liverpool FC
1995/96 : Juventus 1-1 AFC Ajax (aet, Juventus win 4-2 on pens)
1996/97 : Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Juventus
1997/98 : Juventus 0-1 Real Madrid CF
2002/03 : Juventus 0-0 AC Milan (aet, Milan win 3-2 on pens)
2014/15 : Juventus 1-3 FC Barcelona
REAL MADRID CHAMPIONS LEAGUE STATISTICS
Real Madrid have won a record 11 European Cups.
The European Cup was inaugurated in 1955 with Real Madrid winning the first five editions. However, after winning the trophy five times in a row in the 50s, and again in 1966, the club had little success until the end of the 90s, apart from their runner-up place in 1981. Since then, Real Madrid has won the competition five times, in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2014 and 2016 and established itself as one of the strongest sides in European club competitions.
STRENGTH AT THE FINALS
This is Madrid's 14th European Cup/UEFA Champions League final.
It is also exciting to note that they have triumphed in their last five finals. Overall their record at the Final is W11, L3:
1955/56 : Real Madrid 4-3 Stade de Reims Champagne
1956/57 : Real Madrid 2-0 ACF Fiorentina
1957/58 : Real Madrid 3-2 AC Milan (aet)
1958/59 : Real Madrid 2-0 Stade de Reims Champagne
1959/60 : Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt
1961/62 : SL Benfica 5-3 Real Madrid
1963/64 : FC Internazionale Milano 3-1 Real Madrid
1965/66 : Real Madrid 2-1 FK Partizan
1980/81 : Liverpool FC 1-0 Real Madrid
1997/98 : Real Madrid 1-0 Juventus
1999/00 : Real Madrid 3-0 Valencia CF
2001/02 : Real Madrid 2-1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen
2013/14 : Real Madrid 4-1 Club Atlético Madrid (aet)
2015/16 : Real Madrid 1-1 Club Atlético Madrid (aet; Real Madrid win 5-3 on penalties)
JUVENTUS VS REAL MADRID TRIVIAS
1. Madrid want to become the first side to make a successful UEFA Champions League title defence. They are the fifth reigning champions to return to the final the following season, the most recent being Manchester United in 2009.
2. No team have won the European Cup in successive seasons since Milan (1989, 1990).
3. Zidane is also attempting to become the first coach to win the UEFA Champions League two years running, while Sergio Ramos is seeking to become the first captain to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy in consecutive seasons.
4. Ronaldo (2008, 2014) and Ramos (2014, 2016) could become the first players to score in three UEFA Champions League finals. Ronaldo and Ramos are two of five players to have scored in two finals, along with Raúl González (2000, 2002), Samuel Eto'o (2006, 2009) and Lionel Messi (2009, 2011), a list that Marcelo and Gareth Bale – who both netted in 2014 – and Morata, on target for Juve in 2015, could join this season.
JUVENTUS VS REAL MADRID HEAD-TO-HEAD
• This IS The 19th UEFA competition meeting between Juventus and Real Madrid –all in the European Cup – and there is virtually nothing between the sides. Both clubs have eight wins and two draws, with Juve scoring 21 goals to Madrid's 18.
• Their most recent encounters came in the 2014/15 semi-finals, when Juve won 3-2 on aggregate. Goals from ex-Madrid striker Morata – now back with the Merengues – and Carlos Tévez gave Juve a 2-1 first-leg victory in Turin, despite Cristiano Ronaldo's reply
• Ronaldo was again on target in Madrid, only for a 57th-minute equaliser from Morata to earn a 1-1 draw and take Juve into their first final for 12 years.
• Juve are unbeaten in their last three meetings (W1 D2) with Real Madrid, since a 2-1 loss at the Bernabéu in the 2013/14 group stage with Ronaldo scoring twice in the first 30 minutes. That loss is the Bianconeri's sole reverse in the last seven matches between the pair (W4 D2).
• Ronaldo has hit the target in all four of his appearances against Juventus for Real Madrid – five goals in all.
• Madrid have already claimed one European title at Juve's expense, Predrag Mijatović's close-range effort in the 66th minute proving enough to win the 1998 UEFA Champions League final.
• That was not the clubs' only tussle at a neutral venue. In their first tie, in the 1961/62 quarter-finals, each team won 1-0 away, meaning a replay in Paris. Madrid won that third game 3-1 .
• The 2-1 victory against AS Monaco FC in their semi-final second leg (4-1 aggregate) was the first goal Juve had shipped in six knockout matches in this season's competition. It ended their run of not conceding at 690 minutes, the second longest in UEFA Champions League history behind Arsenal's 995 minutes in 2005/06.
• Juventus have played 53 games against Spanish clubs in UEFA competition, with the record W19 D14 L20 F61 A55.
• The Bianconeri have already tasted success against Liga opposition this term, drawing 0-0 at home to Sevilla FC on matchday one before a
3-1 away win in the group stage. In the quarter-finals, Barcelona were beaten 3-0 at home and
on aggregate .
• After that 1962 loss to Madrid, Juve's next tie against Spanish opponents resulted in a European trophy, with an away goals victory against Athletic Club in the 1976/77 UEFA Cup final (1-0 h, 1-2 a).
• The Italian team's shoot-out record is W3 L3:
2-3 v AC Milan, 2002/03 UEFA Champions League final
4-2 v AFC Ajax, 1995/96 UEFA Champions League final
1-3 v Real Madrid CF, 1986/87 European Cup second round
4-2 v Argentinos Juniors, 1985 European/South American Cup final
1-4 v Widzew Łódź, 1980/81 UEFA Cup second round
3-0 v Ajax, 1977/78 European Cup quarter-final.
• Before their 2-1 reverse at Atlético in the semi-final second leg (4-2 aggregate), Madrid were unbeaten in this season's competition (W8 D3) and had won all five fixtures in the knockout stage.
• The Atlético loss halted a 16-match unbeaten run in European competition (W11 D5), since a
2-0 defeat at VfL Wolfsburg in last season's UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg.
• Madrid have won their last four games against Italian opposition, going back to that 2015 semi-final against Juve. In this season's round of 16, they overcame SSC Napoli 3-1 both
home and away.
• The Merengues' record against Italian clubs is P69 W33 D11 L25 F104 A87.
• Madrid's shoot-out record in European competition is W2 L2:
5-3 v Club Atlético de Madrid, 2015/16 UEFA Champions League final
1-3 v FC Bayern München, 2011/12 UEFA Champions League semi-finals
3-1 v Juventus, 1986/87 European Cup second round
5-6 v FK Crvena zvezda, 1974/75 European Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals
Key Match facts to note:
1. Dani Alves is set for his 100th UEFA Champions League appearance, the 31st player to reach the milestone. Ramos and Buffon also brought up their centuries this season.
2. Juventus are bidding to become the ninth team to win the treble having wrapped up their third successive league-and-cup double (all under coach Allegri).
3. Higuaín has notched 32 goals for Juve in all competitions this term, good enough for a share of third on the club's all-time list alongside Alessandro Del Piero (1997/98) and David Trezeguet (2001/02). Only Felice Borel (37) and Ferenc Hirzer (35) managed more.
4. Juventus are the only unbeaten team in this season's Champions League (W9 D3).
5. Dani Alves has scored more goals (10) and delivered more assists (25) than any other full-back in the Champions League since his debut in 2007/08.
6. If he plays, Gianluigi Buffon will be the second oldest player to feature in a European Cup/Champions League final (39 years and 4 months) after Edwin van der Sar (40 years and 6 months).
1. The head-to-head record between Juventus and Real Madrid is perfectly balanced, with eight wins each and two draws. However, their only meeting in the final saw Real Madrid win 1-0 in 1998 thanks to a Pedrag Mijatovic goal.
2. Real Madrid have reached the European Cup/Champions League final for the 15th time, four more than any other club (AC Milan, 11). They've won 11 of the previous 14, a 79% success rate.
3. This is Real Madrid's third European Cup/Champions League final in four seasons, a feat they hadn't accomplished since the early days of the competition (5 in a row from 1956 to 1960).
4. Real Madrid will attempt to become the first team since AC Milan (1989, 1990) to win back-to-back European Cup/Champions League trophies.
5. Cristiano Ronaldo has reached the 10-goal mark for the sixth consecutive Champions League campaign - no other player has done it on more than two consecutive seasons (Messi, Van Nistelrooy).
6. Zinedine Zidane could win his second Champions League in only his second season as manager of a first team. He was in the Juventus side that lost against Real Madrid in the only previous Champions League final between both teams back in 1998.
7. Zenedine Zidane has included 22 year old midfielder and son (Enzo) in the Madrid's squad list for the final.
8. This would be a home coming for Gareth Bale, the Welshman playing the final on home soil.
Article written by Emmanuel Ndibe