Juventus Torino and Barcelona are the two teams who will meet in the 2015 UEFA Champions League final. After Barcelona eliminated German champions Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, Juventus held onto a draw against defending champions Real Madrid last night to secure their place in the final act of the competition.
The Champions League Final is the single biggest event in European football, and being part of it is very rewarding, both financially and in terms of prestige. It is the most competitive football competition on the planet, comparable only to events such as the Super Bowl or a grand slam final in tennis.
Juventus went through on a 3-2 aggregate win, although the team only managed to get away with a draw from Madrid on Wednesday. But thanks to a 2-1 draw in the first leg, the predicted ‘El Clasico’ final between Real Madrid and Barcelona will not take place this year.
Despite being considered the underdogs in the clash, the Italian side defended their first leg lead very well in Madrid, and the 58th minute equalizer from Juventus’ Spanish striker Alvaro Morata sealed the deal. There were mixed feelings for the former Real Madrid player after scoring the goal that knocked his childhood favorite team out of the competition.
“I didn’t celebrate the goal, I was never going to,” Morata said after the game. “It was a bittersweet and strange sensation for me. I wish I had scored against another team.” The footballer joined Juventus last year from Real Madrid, in a deal estimated around $23 million.
Many football fans were skeptical about Juventus’ chances to progress to the final, and Real Madrid was expected to undo the one goal handicap by scoring several times on Santiago Bernabeu. The Spanish side’s offensive options seem unlimited, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale leading the ranks.
Moreover, after Barcelona went by Bayern Munich on Tuesday, pundits anticipated a clash between the two huge Spanish rivals. Surprisingly, the Champions League was never decided by a match between the two giants, although they won no less than fourteen trophies between them. Juventus, on the other hand, only has two.
Well, it’s not going to happen this time either. For Juventus, this will be the first final they play in since the 2002/03 season, when they lost against Italian rivals AC Milan, who were led then by Real Madrid’s current coach, Carlo Ancelotti. Having not one the competition since 1996, when they beat Ajax Amsterdam, Juventus will not have an easy task against Barcelona.
It is a mouth of fresh air for Italian football, whose national football championship – the Serie A – has been seriously struggling in recent years. Bookmaking scandals and a lack of investors have almost brought the competition into ruin, with Juventus being the only team to stand out on occasions.
For Real Madrid, their chances of winning a trophy this season are now over, and Ancelotti’s future at the helm of the team is hanging in balance.
Image Source: The Guardian