Real Madrid and Juventus romped to victory in the first legs of their Champions League semi-finals and are now on course to meet one another in the final on 3 June. It will be a fitting finale as they are the only unbeaten sides in this season’s competition, and they have proved themselves to be Europe’s best two teams.
Real Madrid swept past Bayern Munich and now look certain to knock out Atlético Madrid after a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick inspired them to a 3-0 first leg victory. He was the difference between a drab 0-0 draw and a thrashing in this local derby. It has been a fiercely contested fixture in recent years thanks to Atleti’s doggedness, and Real have only won one of their previous eight league meetings. But Ronaldo made a mockery of that with a superbly taken hat-trick. He was head and shoulders the best player on the pitch, but he is ably supported by a very strong team.
Juventus beat an exciting young Monaco side 2-0 in France courtesy of a Gonzalo Higuaín brace and then 2-1 at home. Juve’s defence is strong and currently looks impregnable. They shut out Barcelona’s feared attacking triumvirate of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar over 180 minutes of football, and did a similar job on Monaco.
Leonardo Jardim’s side had put six past Manchester City and six past Borussia Dortmund in the previous two rounds but could find no way past the fabled Juventus backline. Juventus are extremely well organised and they pack a punch in attack too, with Higuaín and Paulo Dybala leading the charge.
It is shaping up to be a classic final and predicting it is hard. Check Bookmaker review their soccer odds before you make a bet on the Champions League futures and you will see that Real Madrid have been made odds-on favourites to win the competition after their famous win against their city rivals. Real are now 5/6 and Juventus are 23/20. Real and Juve will be playing in the final and the bookmakers clearly think Real will go into it as the side most likely to win.
That is interesting when you consider how compact Juventus have been at the back of late. After shutting out Messi, Juventus will have little to fear from Ronaldo. But there is a big difference between Real and Barça this season and it is why Los Blancos are on course to win La Liga: they have a better all-round team. They do concede goals but they are strong in midfield. Barça’s midfield looked lightweight in both games against Juventus and were dominated by the likes of Miralem Pjanic, but it will not be as easy for Juve.
Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos represent an extremely solid midfield. They went toe to toe with Bayern’s supremely talented midfield of Xabi Alonso, Arturo Vidal and Thiago and won, and for that reason you would imagine Real will create more chances against Juventus than Barcelona managed.
Real versus Atleti was billed as the unstoppable force meets the immoveable object, and the unstoppable force swept the object away. Juventus is seen as another immoveable object, not having conceded a Champions League goal since 2016 before Kylian Mbappé struck, but the way Ronaldo is playing right now you would fancy Real to score against them. Real will probably concede too – they typically do – so both teams to score looks a good bet. A 1-1 draw is not beyond the realms of possibility and it could go to extra-time and penalties.
Ronaldo to score at any time also looks a strong bet as he is a big game player who can really make a difference. At 32 he is approaching the final years of his legacy-building as he bids to be remembered as the greatest of all-time, and there seems an element of destiny about things this season. Right now, Real Madrid look like marginally shading the final against Juventus.