Five talking points ahead of Juventus v Real Madrid Champions League clash

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Ten months after claiming their 12th Champions League title with a 4-1 win over Juventus in Cardiff, Real Madrid travel to Turin for Tuesday’s quarter-final, first leg clash.

Massimiliano Allegri’s Italians knocked out Tottenham Hotspur 4-3 on aggregate to reach the last eight while Zinedine Zidane’s Spaniards crushed Paris Saint-Germain 5-2.

Here are five talking points ahead of the 20th clash between the European giants:

Not so emotional return for Zidane

Zinedine Zindane returns for the first time as a coach to the city where he forged his reputation as a player winning two Italian league titles, reaching two Champions League finals and a Ballon d’Or before moving to Real Madrid.

“I became a man in Turin. I will always be Juventino,” says Zindine before adding that his “heart” was Spanish, with Real Madrid “the club of (his) life”.

But the former French World Cup winner added: “I would have liked to avoid Juventus, for lots of reasons.”

Trailing Barcelona by 13 points in the La Liga, this is Real Madrid’s only chance of silverware this season. Juventus are top of Serie A and in the running for a treble.

Ronaldo giving Buffon sleepless nights

Cristiano Ronaldo beat Gianluigi Buffon twice in Cardiff and the Madrid star has been giving the veteran goalkeeper some sleepless nights.

The 33-year-old has hit 21 goals in his last 11 Real Madrid appearances and struck a late brace to help Portugal come from behind to beat Egypt in a friendly last week.

“When you play against a team like Real Madrid, taking one player away won’t make a huge amount of difference. Having said that, knowing I’ll face Cristiano Ronaldo will give me a few sleepless nights,” said the 40-year-old Buffon.

Ronaldo has scored in every single one of his games against Juventus with seven goals in five appearances.

“He is also lethal, everything he does is at 100 percent and in front of the goal he is an assassin.”

Dybala inspiring Juve

Paulo Dybala has returned to top form after a hamstring injury, scoring the winning goal against Tottenham and inspiring last weekend’s 3-1 win over AC Milan for 22 goals this season in all competitions.

The Argentinian forward missed the first leg against Tottenham, a 2-2 draw in Turin, with the second leg proving that a game with Dybala in it is an entirely different sort of game.

Juventus missing key players

Allegri faces two major absentees with Miralem Pjanic and Medhi Benatia both suspended for the first leg.

Bosnian Pjanic’s absence will be felt in midfield and for his set pieces as he has scored six goals and contributed eight assists.

Italian veteran Giorgio Chiellini and Juan Cuadrado made it to Saturday’s game against AC Milan, with the Colombian scoring on his return after a three-month absence.

Alex Sandro is set to return along with Croatian Mario Mandžukić.

Real Madrid have no serious injuries with Zidane resting several top players ahead of Tuesday’s game.

History favours Real

The teams have met 19 times, with Juventus winning eight and Madrid nine, including the finals in 1998 and 2017. But Juventus were the last team to eliminate Real Madrid, in 2015 semi-finals, before Allegri’s side went on to lose in the final to Barcelona.




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