Champions League Final: Why My Heart Says Juve But My Head Says Barca!


This weekend will see recently crowned Spanish league champions Barcelona taking on recently crowned Italian league champions Juventus. The prize couldn’t be bigger as the victors will receive the glorious Champions League trophy!

As the game gets ever closer people ask me:

Who will win?

See that is a bit of a tough question for me because who I think will win, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the team I want to see victorious.

That kind of sums up this Champions League final for me.

I would love Juve to end the match as winners but I am fairly certain Barca will end up as the champions of Europe.

My admiration and affection for Serie A is well known. I am an eighties kid and growing up I often had Calcio on Channel Four and I would watch players like Jurgen Klinsmann, Marco van Basten, Roberto Baggio and George Weah light up my TV screen.

I’m a fan of the tactical style Italian teams bring to the European game. People who call it boring or too defensive are just ignorant to a hard working, well disciplined style that can overcome the biggest of odds in one off matches.

For all of Juve’s domination in Italy, Juventus have only won Europe’s most prestigious prize on two previous occasions.

Although ‘La Vecchia Signora’ have never been my favourite Italian team, they still have plenty in their side that I admire.

Veteran stars Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo are two players that have enthralled me for more than a decade now.

Goalkeeper Buffon has been one of the world’s best since the late nineties. Not many can say they have remained in peak form for as long as the Italian stopper. The thirty-seven year old helped the Azzurri to win the World Cup back in 2006. He has also won six Scudettos with Juve, as well has having most of goalkeeping records worth having!

But alas there is one glaring omission missing from Buffon’s illustrious CV. He has never won a Champions League winners medal!

Since signing for Juve back in 2011, midfield maestro has defied the years and shown he is a truly world-class professional. A wonderful passer of the ball and superb at set-pieces, not many would walk into the Barca side during their hay-day but Pirlo would as he fits into their ethos.

It wasn’t just a coincidence that Juventus started winning Serie A titles again (four in a row) after Pirlo joined, he is a key member of the squad and a Champions League win would be the icing on the cake for this superb talent.

In fact, I am a huge fan of the Juve midfield.

Paul Pogba is the new kid on the block, who looks like the type of player that can boss midfields for years to come. No wonder all of Europe’s elite clubs are willing to part at least ¬£60m for the Frenchman’s services.

Claudio Marchisio is a passionate, hard working midfield man who will give his all for ‘I bianconeri’s’ cause. The Italian international will run all day and hope that one of his well timed runs into the box can create a goal against Barca in Berlin.

Chilean star Arturo Vidal is another performer that most of Europe’s best sides would snap up given half the chance. His tackling helps to give Pirlo less defensive responsibilities. Also a keen passer, who can unlock tough defences.

Another reason why my heart will be cheering for a Juve victory is because I am your typical Scotsman who likes nothing better than a good underdog story.

That would certainly be the case if Juventus can produce a win of Barca. Not many teams can come up against a formidable trio like Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Saurez and score a triumph.

Obviously I can see the appeal for those that support FC Barcelona and who enjoy their play. I mentioned messrs Messi, Neymar and Suarez right?

The fluid passing, pressing and quality goals can be a joy to watch.

They also have their own classy veterans in Xavi and Andres Iniesta. Both have played at the Camp Nou all their days and this game will be Xavi’s last for the Catalan club after seventeen years of service. So that could be his fairytale ending.

But I really just can’t find myself liking Barcelona. They are too predictable, in that they are too good and more often than not they win.

A win on Saturday would be¬†Blaugrana’s fourth Champions League title in the last decade.

Of course they work hard on their system and the players all perform their tasks to perfection but that doesn’t stop them from being too good to appreciate.

I enjoy the unpredictable things that football tosses up. When you go into a game knowing the result, it’s not as fun. But when you go into a game with two teams ready to go toe to toe with each other and no clear favourite then you just find yourself engrossed in the thrill of it all.

With Barca I never seem to get that feeling.

The great thing about Saturday’s clash is that the winner will complete a unique treble as both have just won their respective league titles and domestic cup competitions this season.

I would love it if Juve can upset the odds and grind out a famous victory. Their chances have been hampered as experienced defender Giorgio Chiellini is missing due to a calf tear.

To see Buffon lift that illustrious trophy would be a great sight.

But in fairness I really don’t mind who wins as long as we see a fantastic football match. The footballing world deserves that after all the news about FIFA and corruption.

Bring on Berlin and make it magical!

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