The 2016/17 comes to an end on Saturday, as Real Madrid take on Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final at Cardiff’s National Stadium.
Real Madrid and Juventus face off against each other in the final of the UEFA Champions League on Saturday, with a lot at stake for either side.
While Real Madrid can become the first club to win Europe’s premier club competition for two seasons in a row, Juventus are eyeing a historic treble. Ahead of the final, here’s the all-important team news for both Real Madrid and Juventus.
Zinedine Zidane has no injury concerns to deal with whatsoever, and he takes a full-strength squad for the final in Cardiff. Pepe (fractured rib) and Dani Carvajal (hamstring) were the last of the players off the treatment table and the duo have been picked by the Real Madrid boss for Saturday’s match-day squad.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) June 2, 2017
But while Carvajal is expected to slot right back into the starting lineup to man the right side of the Real Madrid defence, Pepe is unlikely to displace Raphael Varane from the heart of Los Blancos defence.
The biggest decision facing Zidane, though, concerns Gareth Bale following the Wales international’s recovery from a calf injury. The Frenchman has to choose between the homecoming hero and the in-form Isco for the final place in his side’s attack, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema expected to take the other two slots.
Zidane, though, remained tight-lipped on his selection plans when faced with the question in his pre-match press conference. He said, “I’m not going to say who will play. They could play together, as I’ve already said. The most important thing is that we all head into the game physically and mentally prepared.”
Zidane’s counterpart in the Juventus dugout, Massimiliano Allegri, meanwhile, has no pressing fitness issues on his hands either, with Marko Pjaca the only absentee due to a cruciate ligament injury.
Allegri, though, is greeted by the return of key first-team players Mario Mandzukic (knee) and former Real Madrid midfielder, Sami Khedira (thigh) to the match-day squad.
Final prep for the #UCLFinal ⚪️⚫️
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) June 2, 2017
The duo has recovered from their respective injuries to make themselves available for the final and both Khedira and Mandzukic should be restored back into the starting eleven on Saturday.
Giving updates on the possible decisions he’ll take on Saturday in his pre-match press conference, Allegri said that the bench will prove to be key against Real Madrid, while also highlighting the aforementioned selection dilemma facing Zidane.
He said, “The bench could prove more decisive than ever. Depending on how Real line up, we’ve prepared ways to counter them. There’s the choice between Gareth Bale and Isco. The latter plays more centrally and is more unpredictable, but he leaves the Real defence more exposed.”
So, an enthralling contest is on the cards and with both managers having their key players fit and available, it should be a hard-fought battle on Saturday.