Having now the top four contenders in the UCL this season, the semi-final draw was decided in the municipality of Nyon in Switzerland, the outcome fated Real Madrid CF (ESP) to take on Juventus (ITA) on match day 1 of the semi-finals, in the latter’s home ground in the first leg of the two legged tie, while the second semi is to be played between FC Barcelona (ESP) and FC Bayern Munich (GER); to be played at Camp Nou, the former’s home stadium.
Juve always seem to get the job done, of ways they remind you of Mourinho’s Chelsea, but one way what seems Jose’s tactic to sustain itself in the most competitive league in the world, for the other is simply a lasting style of game play that has infused in their way of football for years, so much so to even claim an identity through it.
Juve’s sensational display in their domestic season is credited much to its manager, Massimiliano Allegri who’s seeing to it that the club retains most of its former glory. Juventus plays with a strict disciplined defensive mindset, not letting any space for their opponents to manoeuvre around and with the ball particularly at the feet of their maestro Andrea Pirlo whose pin point defence splitting passes are well finished by the forwards, on many an occasion this season the Argentine attacker Carlos Tevez has done exactly the same. It goes without saying that even though the other three are better mustered for this competition, Juve are a constant threat and no one can ever dare to shrug them off as lightweights.
Their journey so far has not been lit by tremendous feats like those of its contemporaries but it’s not the way they like to do it, Juve is more like a sleeping giant which gradually wakes from its slumber.
Juventus progressed from the pool “A” where they qualified second behind Club Atlético de Madrid and were fiercely challenged by the Greek side Olympiacos for the second qualifying spot. Their performance in the following matches gradually increased beating Dortmund in the round of 16 with ease, winning both the legs; 2-1 at home and 0-3 away. Their Quarter-final bout was with Monaco where on both occasions they showcased how result yielding side they can be by winning marginally 1-0 at home and succeeded in maintain a 0-0 draw away.
Real Madrid CF does not require any introduction, for it is the most successful club in the competition having won it ten times already, perhaps has the most talented squad on paper, definitely the most spent on for sure, with the sole purpose of winning this competition they do not leave any stone unturned, even more so in when their arch European and domestic rivals FC Barcelona are in the running as well. When perhaps one see’s Real and their squad and their ethics over the years, I for one see them as a band of the fiercest mercenaries maybe the best money can buy, but of course each one of them has to earn every penny of it.
What Madrid offers to its players is an epitome stage where only the best can sustain a spot in the starting eleven, so winning is absolutely paramount, no matter who they play and this season arguably having the best manager in the world; Carlo Ancelotti, they definitely look the part.
CR7, yup it’s what sparkles on his boot when he steps on the turf, Ronaldo is perhaps the most valued player for the club and with good reason, netting 8 goals in his last 10 appearances, he really is at the helm of this immensely talented squad. While every player play’s according to his role setup by their manager, Ronaldo does not belong to this kind of breed, he is a reliever and is granted enough liberty to inflict what he can, when he can, where ever he can, and he can, and he does, with so with poise. Having lost Xavi Alonso to Bayern their playmaker’s mantle is taken up by the Croatian captain Luka Modric, who did take time to acclimatise to the club along with the pressure that goes with it, and now he holds an invaluable position being the creative genius at the heart of this team, one particular duel amongst many would be to see the dominance in the midfield between Modric and Pirlo. Real play at a really fast pace and are devastating in counter attacking, within seconds they are capable of shifting the tables around, giving width on the wings Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo with Benzima at the centre, with Modric and Kroos supplying from the midfield, Real comprises of the best attacking game play that money can buy.
Their journey so far is that was fair ease, having their metal tested only once by the German side Schalke FC in the round of 16 where the formidable whites (Los Merengues) succeeded with overall aggregate of 5-4 in their favour; lost at home 3-4 while winning away 0-2. Progressing from the pool “B” with maximum points only to meet Schalke and later their derby rivals Club Atlético de Madrid in the Quarter’s, beating them 1-0 at home and sustaining a draw away 0-0.