This year’s UEFA Champions League final between Juventus and Barcelona will be a true clash between champions, after both teams have won their domestic doubles in 2015. There are many things separating the two clubs, however, including their budgets and football philosophies.
Simply judging the two teams by their gross value could be a bit misleading. Juventus, currently estimated at $247 million, is not that far behind Barcelona’s $382 estimated value, at least not for modern football. But it’s not about how the clubs make their money, but how they spend it.
Barcelona is desperate to win its first Champions League trophy since 2011, and the club didn’t hold back from splashing the cash on big transfers throughout the season. Already dubbed as one of the greatest teams on the planet, the blaugrana officials decided there is room for more.
Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez joined the team from Liverpool at the start of the season, in a deal estimated at 81 million euro. Around the same time, Barcelona had to pay extra fees following Neymar’s transfer, which eventually rose above the 86 million euro mark. Add the 18 million euro paid for Ivan Rakitic to the list, and you get the idea.
Juventus was in a slightly different position. Undisputed champions in Italy, pretty much every good player in the country wanted to play for the Bianconeri, so the club tried a more pragmatic approach. Juventus decided to invest more in its youth, with the likes of Claudio Marchisio and Paul Pogba being virtually unknown before their breakthrough seasons in Turin.
Juventus hasn’t had much trouble winning the Seria A in recent years, so club officials thought the time is right to set higher ambitions. Although lacking trademark goal scorers like Lionel Messi or Neymar (who scored 12 and 11 times respectively during Barcelona’s UCL campaign), the Old Lady relied on team cohesion instead.
A series of consistent performances helped Juventus get past 2013 finalists Borussia Dortmund and trophy holders Real Madrid on their way to Berlin. Meanwhile, Barcelona really showed their class by slaying giants like Paris Saint Germain, Manchester City or Bayern Munich.
Barcelona is going in as the real favorite into the Saturday night final, but Juventus is unlikely to go down easy. The Turin side has a rare opportunity to win its first Champions League trophy after a near 20 years drought, and will probably employ the same tactics that worked so well against Real Madrid.
Will Italian team cohesion be enough to keep Barcelona’s brilliant strikers in check? We shall see.
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