It all started on 28th june 2016, when both teams struggled in their own ways just to get to the clinch, at least, the first and second spots in their respective groups.
Madrid placed second with 12 points, just behind Dortmund in a group,(F) which also included Legia warsaw and Sporting Lisbon.
They were both victorious with 6-2, 6-3 aggregates over Napoli and Bayern Munich in the round 16 and quarter finals respectively
Madrid edged out Atletico Madrid 4-2, on aggregate, at the last four stage, making their way to the finals.
Juventus, on the other hand, was first in the group H, with 14 points ahead of Sevilla, Lyon and Dinamo Zagreb accordingly, having taken out FC Porto and Barcelona, each, on a 3-0 aggregate, in the round 16 and quarter finals respectively, thereby securing a ticket to the semis.
Subquently, they dominated and eliminated Monoco, 4-1 in aggregate.
Real Madrid, formidable in attack with 32 goals in 12 matches, are making their 15th appearance in the UEFA Champions League finals
However, their opponents, Juventus, whose staunch defence have conceded just three goals, and having nine clean sheets in a total of 12 games, are marking their ninth appearance in the Champions league finals.
Both teams have 33 tittles each in their respective national leagues (Serie A and La liga), and are currently the champions, with Juventus winning it six consecutive times since the 2011/12).
In the UEFA Champions League history, Madrid and Juventus have met 18 previous times, with eight wins apiece, two ending in draws, Juventus scoring 21 as opposed to Madrid’s 18.
Madrid and their coach(Zinedine Zidane) are seperately looking forward to win the UEFA Champions League trophy twice unbroken, while, Sergio Ramos after lifting the trophy last year is seeking to become the first captain to lift it for the second time uninterrupted, should madrid prove victorius in cardiff.
The only Ghanaian player (Kwadwo Asamoah) in tonight’s game is very confident of winning his first Champions League trophy for Juventus.
He believed his team will triumph over Madrid. That was what he told Soccer Laduma, yesterday.
“They (Madrid )haven’t changed much and they are still almost the same players. It is not easy though, because for the past years Madrid have been a very good side and last year they were the champions.
“They are used to these kinds of games, so we have to do more. Since I have been here, this is the second time we are going to the final, and Madrid have been here so many times.”
“For us, we have to do more because we really need it. I know they want to win it, but we are really hungrier than them. I think they have won enough. This is our time.”
Asamoah, joined Juventus in 2012 from Udinese, and has so far won 11 trophies all in juventus, having made 24 appearances for the Old ladies this season, getting today’s trophy will make it 12, and the 1st in UEFA champions league.
Ramos (2014, 2016), C.Ronaldo(2008, 2014), have scored in two UEFA Champions League finals, can they pen down a history, of being the first two players to score in three UEFA finals?
In total, Real Madrid have won the UEFA Champions league 11 times unparalleled, apparently the only team that have won the cup, the most, and have also won all of their last five UEFA Champions league finals, starting from 1997/98, which they beat their current contenders(Juventus), in a 1-0 victory.
Can Christiano Ronaldo join Clarence Seedorf as a four-time record winner of the UEFA Champions League in Cardiff tonight?
Can Kwadwo Asamoah also become the sixth Ghanaian to win the Champions league cup following Abedi Ayew, Ibrahim Tanko, Samuel Osei Kuffuor, Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari?
Most Ghanaians in tonight’s game will be supporting Juventus because of the 28 year old man , Kwadawo Asamoah, others believe Asamoah winning the tittle will bring some sort of glory to Ghana thereby giving their all to support the Italian giants.
Juventus, who are just 2 times champions(1884/85 and 1995/96), in their last five finals, proceeding from 1996(the only year they won), have lost 4 fixtures, obviously, the only team that have lost the final fixture the most, their last defeat was 1-3 to Fc Barcelona in 2014/15 season.
The “old ladies can make their captain’s (Gianluigi Buffon) dream of becoming the oldest player to play in a UEFA Champions League final victory at age 39 a reality, provided they emerge victorious tonight.
The former Ghanaian captain, Stephen Appiah who played for Juventus between 2003 and 2005 has also expressed his confidence in the Juventus team, speaking to Joy sports at the Accra Sports Stadium yesterday, after training.
‘’Juventus undoubtedly one of the big clubs in the world and are very much experience when it comes to playing in the Champions League’’ Appiah, who is now technical coordinator of the Black Stars, told Joy Sports after training at the Accra sports stadium.
‘’They have won the Italian league for six consecutive season, I think it is time for them to add the Champions league this season and I know they will record famous victory against Real Madrid’’.
“I will be very happy if it happens because it is my former team and my brother (Kwadwo Asamoah) Kwadwo Asamoah will be become the sixth Ghanaian player to win the competition.
‘’I am supposed to be Cardiff but I am busy with my new role, working hard to ensure the Black Stars return to their glory days’’ he added.
The match is taking place, tonight, at the National Cardiff stadium (Wales), a 74,500-seat stadium, with a Desso GrassMaster pitch, which is a composition of natural grass and artificial fibres, equipped with a retractable roof, comprising two sliding 400 tonne sections which take 20 minutes to open or close.
The superficial is made up of 7,412 squares of turf which can be taken and stored when events take place. It is the second largest covered stadium in the world, after Cowboys Stadium, Texas, United States.
The game is being played in a closed roof because of security concerns over the current terrorist attacks which happened in Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester Arena.
Today happens to be the first time in history, Cardiff is going to witness a Champions league final on their soil grounds.
The stingy defence of Juventus is likely going to be a barrier to Madrid’s goal netting, but looking at the level of Christiano Ronaldo’s scoring ability, having scored two hattricks in his last two UEFA games against Bayern and Atletico, can he prove his magic to become the first player to net hat trick in UEFA Champions league final?
Kwadwo Asamoah, for sometime now has also been missing out in the Black Stars squad due to injuries. To retain his position, he needs nothing but to prove his fitness to help clinch a victory for his side tonight, one that could bring back his call-up to the Black Stars ahead of next year’s world cup qualifiers.
Two years ago, due to injury, he had to witness their final against Barcelona from the stands. Hopefully, this time, he will be featured, an experience, he sees it very crucial, hoping his team wins, even if he does not play, to wear his gold medal as a grand winner, to join compatriots Abedi Pele, Samuel Osei Kuffuor, Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien in the Ghanaian Hall of Fame in Europe’s flagship competition.
STORY: ELIKEM Justice