UCL Preview: High-flying Monaco welcomes The Old Lady

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The Stade Louis II has seen its fair share of big AS Monaco matches, but this one’s as big as any since the the 2003 UCL semifinal win over Chelsea.

That year saw Monaco finish runners-up to Porto, and the Ligue 1 side has to be feeling its chances are good to repeat history with a trip to the final.

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Standing in Monaco’s way? Juventus, the most successful club in Italy and one in search of its first UCL crown in 21 years.

The Old Lady got the better of Monaco in the 2014-15 UCL quarterfinal, the only goal an Arturo Vidal penalty at Juventus Stadium.

These teams, however, are much different. Gone from Juventus are Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, Carlos Tevez, and Alvaro Morata, while that Monaco side started Anthony Martial and Yannick Carrasco.

The “new” Martial may not be in Monaco for long, and perhaps fans would trade the use of Kylian Mbappe for a UCL title. Mbappe, who doesn’t turn 19 until December, has goals in his last four UCL run-outs — two against Man City and three versus Borussia Dortmund.

Many are impressed with the teenager, and you can count legendary Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon amongst that group. From Football Italia:

“In 1998 I went to the World Cup in France, and he was born,” Buffon pointed out in an interview with SportMediaset.

“It’s beautiful and motivational to play against a future [Lionel] Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar… he’s an incredible talent, he’s a lad with his head screwed on and that will help him a lot.”

That’s incredibly high praise. Juventus and Monaco tangle at 2:45 p.m. ET Wednesday in France before the return leg Tuesday in Turin.