In 2003, saving penalties from Seedorf and Kaladze wasn’t enough for him. His Milan
counterpart Dida went one better as Milan won the first all-Italian UCL final. Juventus had eliminated both Barca and Real en route to the final.
This time, Buffon and co. have already defeated Barca and shut out MSN for 180 minutes but there is one thing standing between themselves and the European Trophy. Real Madrid, led by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo in this particular competition this season.
From scoring the crucial freekick against Sporting in the group Stage to striking the decisive blows against Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in the QF and SF respectively, Ronaldo is enjoying one of his best seasons in the UCL and astonishingly, he has not even been at his best throughout the tournament or the season for that matter.
In a game so carefully designed to require the highest level of teamwork and bonding, so finely constructed to recognize the roles of the Kroos, Modric, Ramos, BBC and Dybala, Higuain, Khedira, BBC – it has all come down to two myths – Gianluigi Buffon and Cristiano Ronaldo.
One at the twilight of his career, eyeing probably the final chance to earn another Champions League medal and win an unprecedented Ballon D’ Or. The other, making comebacks and reveling in his own evergreen way as always – on the back of the most rewarding 12 months of his career. Whichever way this final may go, there is little doubt that these two men and these two teams deserve every bit of the glory they earn today. “He is my favourite player but on another day. He is up against Buffon tonight”. “He is a legend, my Hero, he deserves it but I think we will win, Ronaldo will score” – Just the reaction of some Juventus and Madrid fans walking down the streets of Cardiff, when asked about Ronaldo and Buffon respectively.
1) Real Madrid are only a goal away from becoming the first team in UEFA Champions League history to score 500 goals.
2) If Juventus manage to keep a cleansheet in the final, they will become the side with the best defensive record in a UCL season. Juventus have conceded 3 in 12 matches so far in this season’s UCL, same as Ajax of 1995-96 but they had to play only 11 matches.
Ajax were bidding to be the first side to defend the UCL trophy. In the finals, they lost in penalty shootout to, yes, you guessed it, Juventus.