Champions League Final: Can Ronaldo be the difference between the two sides?
Last updated: June 2, 2017 by Leon Marshal
|Last Meeting:||Real Madrid 1 – 1 Juventus|
So here it finally is, the biggest match in club football, featuring two of the best teams in Europe. Madrid are gunning to be the first team to win back-to-back titles while Juventus aim for their first win since 1996 after subsequently being runners up a heartbreaking four times. It will be a clash of two different footballing philosophies – the pace and fury of Los Blancos vs the resilience and strength of The Old Lady. In essence, it is European football at its finest; a mighty battle between two styles that promises to be a capitulation of a great Champions League season.
Real Madrid have the edge here. They are used to winning the Champions League, having won a ridiculous 11 times, twice in the past three years alone. Juventus may have won six the domestic cup six times in the past six years after bouncing back from the Calciopoli scandal, but European triumph still manages to deny their comeback the proverbial cherry on top. Nevertheless, if they manage to stay as tight as they’ve been all season, and hope to gain a breakaway goal from Higuaín or Dybala, then they might just have a chance to eke out a win. Real Madrid on the other hand, will want to use their pace to create a free-flowing game. Beautiful open play vs ‘boring’ and compact defending; its really hard to predict a winner here.
Yet Real Madrid do have Christiano Ronaldo. Whenever Christiano Ronaldo plays, every football game threatens to become the Christiano Ronaldo show. He is possibly the most complete footballer in the world; being able to score goals with both feet, with his salmon-jump headers, and his deadly strikes from dead-ball situations. Not only that, but as his club’s success – and Portugal’s European Victory last season – has proven, he has the ability to lift up the players around him and make them play to the best of their ability. Juventus know that if they want to win, the most important thing to do is contain the majestic Portuguese attacker. And while they may not be able to match Madrid in terms of attacking prowess, they can take comfort in the fact they have only conceded 3 goals in the entire tournament . Therefore, a lot rests (literally) in the hands of Gianluigi Buffon, who in the past twenty years as a keeper has never been bettered in terms of shot-stopping and enthusiasm. Buffon has never won the Trophy either, so possibly this is his chance to steal the limelight from Ronaldo, and earn the perfect cap to an outstanding career.
Zinedine Zidane features a career-defining decision for this match: Isco or Bale? It could prove the difference between winning and losing
Christiano Ronaldo – ever humble – has been snapping pictures of himself in the gym ahead of this game.
It looks like only Pjaca and Allegri are doubtful for Juventus this Saturday, with every other player subject to fitness tests.
Asamoah is confident Juventus can win, but says that he expects “a tough match against Real Madrid in the Champions League final, it’s an emotion for us all to beat them.”
|Juventus(5-2-3):||Buffon; Alves, Chiellini, Barzagli, Bonucci, Sandro; Pjanic, Khedira; Dybala, Mandzukic, Higuaín|
|Subs:||Audero, Benatia, Lichtsteiner, Marchisio, Sturaro, Cuadrado, Asamoah|
|Real Madrid(4-3-3):||Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo|
|Subs:||Nacho, James, Vasquez, Asensio, Morata, Casilla, Mariano|
Champions League Form
|Juventus This Season||Real Madrid This Season|
|1st||Respective League Position||1st|
|9 (5)||Wins (away)||8 (3)|
|5-1 vs. West Ham||Biggest Win||4-0 vs. Dinamo Zagreb|
|3 (1)||Draws (away)||3 (2)|
|n/a||Biggest Defeat||1-2 vs. Atletico Madrid|
|Higuaín (5)||Top Goal Scorer||Ronaldo (10)|
|2||Failures to Score||0|
|25%||Both Teams to Score Games||92%|
|33%||Over 2.5 Goals||100%|
|67%||Under 2.5 Goals||0%|
- The Champions League has big goals built into its DNA. Odds of 17/2 and 19/5 for Higuaín and Ronaldo to score outside of the box respectively.
- Ronaldo relishes moments such as these. His odds are 6/1 to score 2 or more.
- The Champions League Final is famous for providing last minute thrills. Odds of 30/1 for a goal to be scored in the last five minutes.
- The Champions league is known for its almighty comebacks. Odds of 11/1 for Juventus to come back and win.
Head to Head
|Last Five Champions League Meetings Between The Sides|
|Date||Game Result||Round||First Goal-scorer|
|13/05/2015||Real Madrid 1 – 1 Juventus||Semi-Final Second Leg||Ronaldo 23′ (pen)|
|05/05/2015||Juventus 2 – 1 Real Madrid||Semi-Final First Leg||Morata 8′|
|05/11/2013||Juventus 2 – 2 Real Madrid||Group Game||Vidal 41′|
|23/10/2013||Real Madrid 2 – 1 Juventus||Group Game||Ronaldo 4′|
|05/11/2008||Real Madrid 0 – 2 Juventus||Group Game||Del Piero 17′|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
Real Madrid are the Champions League experts, so William Hill have them at 17/10 to win in 90 minutes. This doesn’t represent much value seeming as Juventus’ odds are quite similar at 19/10. Some great value can be found when deciding when each team will win the cup, with Juventus at 14/1 to win in extra time compared to Real Madrid’s 11/1 and both teams at 10/1 to win on penalties. Another place where great value can be found is in the combined markets, with a whopping 30/1 offered at bet365 for Christiano Ronaldo to score first but for Juventus to win.
If you fancy taking advantage of a great deal, take part in the 2 Up – You Win offer at Paddy Power. If you back a team to win, then you will be paid out in full if your team is up by 2 goals. Another great market is in looking at the over and under markets – given Real Madrid’s 100% record of scoring over 2.5 goals a game, it is worth backing putting a punt on this at the same operator at 5/4. If you want to combine this likelihood with a Real Madrid win, then the odds go up to a whopping 8/1, truly representing some brilliant value. I couldn’t confidently tell you to commit to one team over another, but a combination of smart bets here will sure give you the chance to find great opportunities.