Juventus welcome Real Madrid to Turin on Tuesday for the first leg of their Champions League
It is a repeat of the 2017 final and the home side will be hoping for an improved display against Zinedine Zidane’s men as they attempt to seize the advantage ahead of the second leg on April 11.
Madrid, meanwhile, are on the hunt for a third successive Champions League title and an away victory would set them up nicely for the tie’s decisive game at the Santiago Bernabeu.
With one of the tournament’s most formidable defences coming up against its top scorer of all time in Cristiano Ronaldo, it promises to be a spectacle.
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Buffon, Pinsoglio, Szczesny|
|Defenders||De Sciglio, Chiellini, Sandro, Barzagli, Rugani, Lichtsteiner|
|Midfielders||Khedira, Marchisio, Matuidi, Asamoah, Sturaro, Bentancur, Muratore|
|Forwards||Cuadrado, Dybala, Higuain, Costa, Mandzukic.|
Mehdi Benatia is suspended for the game, while Alex Sandro is a doubt as he recovers from injury, which means there will be some reshuffling in defence.
Midfielder Miralem Pjanic is also serving a suspension and Federico Bernardeschi is definitely out with an injury, but Mario Mandzukic could feature.
Potential Juventus starting XI: Buffon; De Sciglio, Chiellini, Barzagli, Lichtsteiner; Khedira, Matuidi, Marchisio, Dybala, Cuadrado, Higuain.
|Position||Real Madrid players|
|Goalkeepers||Navas, Casilla, Luca|
|Defenders||Carvajal, Vallejo, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Theo, Achraf|
|Midfielders||Kroos, Modric, Bale, Casemiro, Llorente, Isco, Asensio, Kovacic, Ceballos|
|Forwards||Ronaldo, Benzema, Mayoral, Vazquez|
Los Blancos have a near-full panel to choose from for the game, with defender Nacho the only real doubt.
Potential Real Madrid starting XI: Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro, Modric, Kroos; Ronaldo, Benzema, Isco.
When Juventus and Real Madrid met in Cardiff last June the Spaniards inflicted a crushing defeat on the Italians to lift the Champions League trophy. The game finished 4-1 as Cristiano and Co. wrote their names into the history books by becoming the first ever team to win back-to-back titles in the modern era.
This year’s quarter-final tie between the sides subsequently offers Juve a unique shot at redemption and they can take a step closer to winning a trophy they have not laid hands on since 1996 by securing a positive result at the Allianz Stadium on Tuesday.
A survivor of that 2017 capitulation, Gianluigi Buffon, believes that the Bianconeri were too confident last summer and suggested that they may have a better chance of beating Los Blancos over two legs instead of playing them in one winner-takes-all bout.
Either way, they are coming up against a Real Madrid team that have shaken off the jitters that had blighted their early 2018 form, with Ronaldo leading the way. While he has endured a difficult season in La Liga, the Portuguese star has had no such problems in the Champions League and is top of the tournament’s scoring charts with 12 goals. Now, with 17 goals in his last eight appearances in all competitions for Madrid, Ronaldo is very much a man in form.
While Juve are seeking redemption for their final loss and that will be a huge motivating factor, Madrid’s overall season has been such a clanging disappointment that the Champions League is now their only avenue to absolution, so expect no punches to be pulled in this tie.