In a little over three weeks, Real Madrid and Juventus will meet at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff to decide this season’s UEFA Champions League.
For Real, it could be the club’s third UCL crown in the past four seasons, an astounding feat that hasn’t been met in the Champions League Era. Meanwhile, Juventus will go for its third-ever Champions League/European Cup title, and would be the Italian side’s first since the 1995/96 season.
PST takes a brief look back at how the two sides reached the UCL final:
Real Madrid’s road to Cardiff
Zinedine Zidane’s side were never really in doubt of missing out on the knockout phase, but Real definitely had a challenging time with Borussia Dortmund, who went on to win Group F.
The Madridistas went on to finish second in the group phase, two points behind Dortmund, setting up a meeting with Napoli in the Round of 16.
From there, the La Liga side went off with a six-goal aggregate performance against their Italian opposition. What was even more impressive was that Real did this without capturing any goals from Cristiano Ronaldo.
That certainly wasn’t the case for the Portuguese star though in the quarterfinal round as Ronaldo went off for five goals against Bayern Munich, including a controversial hat-trick in the second leg. Many considered Bayern among the title favorites in the competition, furthering Real’s case for returning to the final.
The semifinals brought out an all-Madrid clash when Real took on Atletico, and it was Los Blancos that took a convincing lead into the second leg after Ronaldo boasted another hat-trick in leg 1.
Despite Atletico’s best efforts in the second leg, and even pulling the aggregate score back to 3-2, Isco’s first-half finish put the tie to bed, setting up Real’s meeting with Juventus.
Juventus’ road to Cardiff
It all started back in Group H, and while it may have a fairly challenging set of group stage opponents to deal with Juventus still handled their business comfortably and confidently.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side breezed through their six group stage matches with an unbeaten record and +9 goal differential, setting up a Round of 16 clash with FC Porto.
The Italian giants picked up two crucial away goals in Portugal courtesy of Marko Pjaca and Dani Alves, while Juventus put the tie to bed when things returned to Italy for the second leg.
The quarterfinals may have been Juve’s most impressive performance of all, as Allegri’s men disposed of mighty Barcelona, 3-0, over two legs. To that point, Juventus still hadn’t allowed a goal during the first two knockout rounds.
That brings us to the final four as the Serie A leaders met up with one of the most exciting attacks in all of Europe; Monaco.
Despite boasting the threats of Radamel Falcao, Kylian Mbappe and others, Juventus did exactly what it has prided itself on for years and that’s stifling opposing attacks. After notching two away goals in France, Mario Mandzukic and Dani Alves gave the Italians another pair of finishes to make it 4-1 on aggregate at the Juventus Stadium.Follow @MattReedFutbol