WHEN Juventus knocked out Barcelona in the last eight without conceding I thought there and then they could go all the way.
The Italians then dumped a magical Monaco side in equally emphatic style but need to take down Real Madrid in Cardiff today to be crowned European champions.
Real live for the Champions League and can beat any side on their day – and that's the key. They've won the crown 11 times but are bidding to be the first side to retain the Champions League.
The Madrid men are marginal favourites at 10-11 with Skybet to lift the trophy while Juve are 24-23 at 188Bet.
To win in 90 minutes you can have Real at 9-5 with Marathonbet with the Italians 2-1 at betfair and a draw that forces extra time 9-4 with the same firm.
Cristiano Ronaldo proved with Portugal he can drag teams over the line to the biggest prizes but he and his team-mates -including Gareth Bale in his home country – are up against probably the best defence in world football.
It could come down defence v attack and maybe even Ronaldo v Giorgio Chiellini or Bale and Karim Benzema against Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Barzagli.
.Juve have conceded just three goals in this season's tournament and one of those was when their semi-final against Monaco was over.
Real though have netted in every Champions League encounter this season and are top scorers. They have netted 106 goals in La Liga on the way to pipping Barca for to the title.
La Liga's champions have been vulnerable at the back though with just one clean sheet in Europe – against Atletico Madrid – and 17 goals to conceded to the likes of Legia Warsaw, Sporting and Napoli – so both to score could be a way to go if you believe Buffon can be breached. That pays 21-20 at betfair.
Ronaldo will be the most backed first scorer after hitting knockout hat-tricks against Bayern Munich and Atletico. He is 41-10 at Marathonbet to break the deadlock and 16-11 at 888sport to net.
Bale will be a popular choice especially with Welsh fans in the stadium if he gets the nod ahead of Isco. He hasn’t played since April 23 through injury and his replacement has been brilliant.
While Juve are defiant in defence they’re pretty hot in attack too where Paulo Dybala and Gonazalo Higuain will look to cause trouble.
Higuain was the star turn against Monaco with a deadly double in the away leg while Dybala has shone all season. To score Higuain is 2-1 at Paddy Power with Dybala 10-3 with the same firm.
Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are two of five players who have netted in two finals and Betway go 11-2 for either player to net with a trademark header.
There could be a few bookings and the likes of Chiellini won’t hold back. He is 2-1 at McBookie while Casemiro is the 11-8 favourite. Ramos is another who could see a card and the Real stopper is 6-4 with the Scots firm.
If Buffon plays a blinder and Juve win he’s likely to be named man of the match. The keeper is 9-1 at bet365 to pick up the prize with Ronaldo the 4-1 favourite.
Betway have a market on who will make the most saves during 90 minutes and go evens Buffon, 5-4 Jesus Navas and 9-2 tie. And there is the potential of extra time and even penalties.
It’s always 50-50 when it comes to a shoot-out but maybe if it goes that far it could be Real’s day.
The Spaniards are a best 11-1 at bet365 to win on penalties with Juve 14-1. Just to go to pens it’s 5-1 at Skybet.
Ronaldo loves the limelight and is 12-1 with Betway to net the winning penalty.
Bets to Consider
Juventus to lift trophy
Casemiro to be booked
Buffon man of the match