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UCL Final Preview: Juventus, Real Madrid square off for European glory

Two European giants will square off in Cardiff on Saturday, both looking to hoist the UEFA Champions League winners’ trophy.

Defending champion Real Madrid issearching for its12th Champions League title and their third out of the past four seasons. Serie A champ Juventus is looking for their third crown, and their first since 1996.

Zinedine Zidane’s side is looking to complete the double after already lifting the La Liga title back in late May. Cristiano Ronaldo will be the man to watch, already scoring 10 goals in this year’s competition, and 36 across all competitions this season.

The 32-year-old may be down on the goal chart unlike years past, but his importance to the team is still as vital as ever.

Another player to watch for Los Blancos will be Wales’ international Gareth Bale, who is fit to play in Saturday’s final after being out since April 23. Bale, 27, has nine goals this season with two coming in European play.

Real Madrid cruised its way to the final, defeating the likes of Bayern Munich, Napoli, and, most recently, city rival Atletico Madrid in the knockout stages.

Juventus clinched its sixth consecutive Italian league title back in May and have also lifted the Coppa Italia crown as well. The Old Lady has not lost in European action this season going (9-3-0) in both their group stage and knockout stage matches.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side eased past FC Porto in the Round of 16 before cruising past Barcelona in the quarterfinals. A 4-1 aggregate victory over Ligue 1 champs Monaco booked the Italian giants to their first UCL final since a 3-1 loss to Barcelona back in 2015.

Gonzalo Higuain leads the team with 30 goals across all competitions this season, including three in the Champions League. The Argentina international joined Juventus from Napoli back in 2016, but also spent seven years prior to that with Real Madrid, scoring 107 goals in 190 appearances.

However, Juventus’ strength lies in their back-line with several savvy veterans leading the way. Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, and Leonardo Bonucci are all established internationals and are key to Juventus’ success defensively. Former Barcelona right back Dani Alves has added a valuable presence on the flanks, while 39-year-old keeper Gianluigi Buffon would love to finally grab the only trophy he has not won in his career.

Which team will hoist the UEFA Champions League title? Will Real Madrid make it back-to-back crowns, or will Juventus play the role of spoiler? Who will score the winning goal?

Share your thoughts below.

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