UCL 2016-17 Final: A Tale of Two Myths: The Non-Tactical Preview

In 2003, saving penalties from Seedorf and Kaladze wasn’t enough for him. His Milan

buffon 2003
Buffon’s Heroics Weren’t enough in 2003

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.

12 years later, it was MSN who breached his goal. In the semifinals, Juve had defeated defending Champions Real Madrid.

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.

buf 2015
If Disappointment was a picture, this is how it must have looked like : Buffon and Pirlo after 2015 UCL Final

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.

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The Two Big Men : The Ultimate Battle

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.

Ronaldo and Real Madrid will have to break the “Holder’s Curse” and It will be anything but easy
Real Madrid and Juventus – both are up against history tonight. Juventus will look to bring the trophy back after 21 long years and some final heartbreaks. If they manage to do so, Buffon will become the oldest player to win the Champions League. Real Madrid are up against something more frightening – “The Holder’s Curse”. No team has successfully defended the modern version of Uefa Campions League. AC Milan in 1990 were the last to defend their European crown when it was European Champion Clubs’ Cup.
Perhaps nothing quite sums up it better than these two facts.
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.

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Buffon and BBC have the chance to write their names in the History of UCL

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.

When an immovable object meets an unstoppable force, records are bound to tumble at both ends. But there is little doubt about one thing – at the final whistle today, a Champion will embrace another Champion – no matter what.

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