After Barcelona progressed to the Champions League Final last night, it’s now time to find out who will be joining them. Will it be their arch rivals Real Madrid or Italian champions Juventus.
Juventus take a slender 2-1 lead into the Santiago Bernabeu after their win against Los Blancos last Wednesday but Real now that a 1-0 win like the one they had in the Quarter Finals against Atletico will be enough to see them progress and set up the first ever “El Clasico” Champions League Final.
Real Madrid should see the return of French international Karim Benzema after being out through injury for over a month while German midfielder Toni Kroos looks set to shake of a knock after being replaced early on against Valencia last Saturday.
Juventus will know that a clean sheet will see them go through to the Final for the first time since 2003 but with the firepower at their disposal they will no doubt be looking to get that all important away goal and more importantly silencing the Bernabeu. Manager Massimo Allegri is keeping his cards close to his chest in terms of line up and will have to decide to either play a more defence minded side or try and go for the jugular and kill of any hopes of Real Madrid revival.
One key point will be the performance of Gareth Bale for Real Madrid, he was near anonymous in the first leg last week and with increased tensions after a small spat with James Rodriguez against Valenica the microscopes will no doubt be focused on the Welsh international as continued talk of unrest seems to build and the question of whether he will be returning back to the Premier League this Summer seems to become more pertinent. There were complaints from Bale’s agent Jonathan Barnett that people weren’t passing to Bale, but I think Bale also has to learn that he has to do the small things well like tracking back and supporting the team when needed and then that will allow him to come a better player in the side. It seems the Madrid fans aren’t completely enamored with his work rate and performances but in a team which is all geared up around Cristiano Ronaldo I guess it’s hard nay nearly impossible to be allowed to shine to your full potential.
More importantly it seems as if Carlo Ancelotti is 90 minutes away from keeping his job at Real Madrid. The 2-2 draw with Valencia has all but handed Barcelona the La Liga title this season and this is now their only chance of silverware. Ancelotti would no doubt love to be the first Manager to defend the trophy since it’s been in it’s Champions League guise and give Real Madrid their 11th win in the compettion but failure to progress to the final and the Italian will surely be shown the exit door in a few weeks time.
Personally I think Real Madrid will have just enough to get pass the Italian champions and set up a grandstand “El Clasico” Final although to be honest I think the hype before that game will become pretty much unbearable but I guess that’s just symptomatic of the two biggest clubs (Sorry Manchester United) fans playing each other. If it can be as good as last night’s game we should be in for fireworks, so get the Pizzas and San Miguel in we are going to be in for a treat.