UEFA Champions League final preview

Juventus and FC Barcelona are in their eighth European Cup final; Massimiliano Allegri says “we have to be winners”, Luis Enrique wants another prize for “a unique generation”.

Possible lineups
Juventus: Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Barzagli, Evra; Marchisio, Pirlo, Pogba; Vidal; Tévez, Morata.
Out: Chiellini (calf), Cáceres (ankle)
Doubtful: Barzagli (thigh)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba; Rakitić, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suárez, Neymar.
Out: none
Doubtful: none

 

Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus coach
We started the season with an important objective – to get to the quarter-finals. Now we’ve got to the final and we have to be winners. We need to take the last step; that’s always hard, especially in a Champions League final.

We need to stay focused for 90 minutes, right until the end. We need to be mentally strong and turn things around because we’re second favourites to Barcelona. It’s a one-off match, no chance to play again, so we need to be fit. We are physically fine and the same goes for our mental strength. We need to be good against a great team but, like all teams, they do have faults and weaknesses.

One of the two teams will win a treble, either Juventus or Barcelona – hopefully us. We need to recognise this isn’t easy. It’s not easy to manage great teams, despite how it seems from the outside. Luis Enrique was a great manager at Roma; this is a new league and a new situation but even back then it was clear he was right in his ideas. My role as manager is trying to add value to a team who were already capable, improving them even more.

It should be a great game. As with all Champions League finals, we’ll need some luck and we’ll need to work for that.

 

Luis Enrique, Barcelona coach

[Getting better] is a normal process throughout a season, especially bearing in mind this is my first season in charge. The team is now where it wants to be – with two trophies and the possibility of a third. We’re entering this game with great excitement and hopes of playing a great match so we can be better than our opponents.

Midfield is where the game takes shape, whether that’s attack or defence. We have to dominate both the offensive and the defensive side of things. We want to play our game – have the ball, create danger and minimise any opportunities for our opponents.

We’ve scored lots of goals in the Champions League but we know finals are very different; there’s a lot of tension so we’ll have to block that out. The strikers have got all the headlines and that’s natural. To be here today, having already won those two trophies in Spain, the players know you need a squad – we wouldn’t have got here without our defenders too.

We have a unique set of players, a unique generation given the number of trophies Barcelona have won. I hope we see a great final, an open exciting game – that would be great for football, and the better side would win. This is going to be one of the best matches you can watch – the champions of Italy and Spain. It’s going to be spectacular.

Credit: UEFA