Juventus Champion League final news: Higuaín, Dybala, Buffon
Here in Madrid it's Media Day ahead of Saturday's final in Cardiff. AS English brings you our daily round-up of news as Juve prepare to play Real Madrid.
It was Media Day in Turin yesterday and today it is Madrid's turn to attend the press. Gonzalo Higuaín and Paulo Dybala looked ahead to Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid - neither player was at the club when Juventus lost to Barcelona in the 2015 final in Berlin, and this will be a brand new experience for both of them.
Higuaín and Dybala gearing up to take on Real Madrid
"The fact that I played for Real Madrid earlier in my career adds some extra intrigue to the game for me personally but I can't stress how much I want to win the Champions League for Juventus", explained Higuaín who spent seven seasons at Real Madrid but only got as far as the semi-finals with Los Blancos. "We've been praised from all corners for what we have done in Europe this season; all that's missing is the final step to complete an extraordinary campaign", the Argentine striker added.
Paulo Dybala joined Juve shortly after the 2015 final and opened his Champions League account in the 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich on 23 February 2016.
"We have five days to prepare for this game; it’s crucial that we keep our feet on the ground. This is a huge match but we must approach it like we would any other game without being nervous or losing focus. Physically and mentally we are at our peak and every single one of us is desperate to play in Cardiff. We want to bring home the trophy for the fans because they absolutely deserve it", Dybala said.
Allegri praises opposite number Zidane
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri spoke to the press yesterday and had complimentary words for Madrid coach and ex-Juve player, Zinedine Zidane who he feels has made his team stronger. "You have to congratulate Zidane for what he's done - he has given the team balance. Casemiro isn't the most technically-gifted player but he is important to Madrid because he gives them balance. Zidane has won the Champions League and now he's taken the team to the final again and won the league - that's not easy to do, it's not simple. Managing a great team goes beyond tactics, there are many details which can make the difference.
"We're not the same team who lost in Berlin"
The main message from Juve players in yesterday's Media Day was that the current team has developed since the 2015 final defeat to Barça. Many of the stars from that Juve team have moved on - such as Carlos Tevez, Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo and perhaps most significantly, Álvaro Morata who will be on the opposing side on Saturday.The mood in the Juventus camp is positive as two members of the team who played the Berlin final, Gianluigi Buffon and Leonardo Bonucci, both attest.
"We have a fantastic opportunity in the palm of our hands. Two brilliant football teams will meet on Saturday. We had great conviction in our abilities two years ago and the same is the case this time around. That is all you can ask for," said Buffon.
"This week is all about preparing in the best possible way; the nervous energy in the camp will serve us well but we need to make sure we arrive in Cardiff in peak condition", Bonucci added. "We are more mature as a group than we were in 2015; we have some world class players, we will play a brilliant final and we will win the trophy, I'm sure of it."