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Juventus v Real Madrid

I'd pay to see Buffon win the Champions League, says Tacchinardi

6:25 PM MYT 01/06/2017
Gianluigi Buffon Juventus
The former Bianconeri ace says that both the goalkeeper and the Old Lady deserve to lift the most prestigious prize in club football


Ex-Juventus ace Alessio Tacchinardi admits that he would "pay to see Gianluigi Buffon win the Champions League", arguing that both his former team-mate and club would be more worthy winners of this year's tournament than fellow finalists Real Madrid.

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The Bianconeri will face titleholders los Blancos at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, having conceded just three goals on their remarkable undefeated run to Cardiff.

Tacchinardi acknowledges that his old midfield partner Zinedine Zidane is in possession of a squad overflowing with talent but insists that the Buffon-led Italian champions boast the more balanced side.

"Two sides are arriving in Cardiff that have both had a great season," the ex-Italy international tells Goal in an exclusive interview.

"Real has grown a lot in the last few months. They won La Liga, they knocked out big teams, running well thanks to the many world-class players that they have in their squad.

"We already know everything about Juventus: they are probably the most complete and organised team in all of Europe.

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"I'm expecting a performance made up of intensity, a fast pace, great head-to-heads and a result decided by a moment of magic from a world-class player.

"But this Juve deserve to lift the trophy again. I would pay to see Gigi Buffon win the Champions League!

"They all deserve it, though: the players, the coach, the club and the fans who have been waiting for a new triumph for so many years."

Indeed, Juve have not been crowned champions of Europe since defeating Ajax on penalties in Rome in 1996.

They have lost four finals in the interim and the 1-0 defeat to Real in 1998 still stings for Tacchinardi, as he maintains that Predrag Mijatovic's winner should not have stood.

"That was a classic final in the most negative sense of the word,” he argues. “A closed match, ugly and blocked, with little action or flair, decided by that offside goal by Mijatovic. And that goal was offside despite what he still says!

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"In that game, we played calmly up until 30 metres from their goal but then, we did not have the ingenuity, the creativity or the final ball to unlock their defence.

“Zinedine Zidane and Alex Del Piero were like soaked powder kegs but it must be said that Alex had a muscular problem that had not yet been resolved and he didn't enjoy the benefit of a perfect physical condition.

"Still, Saturday's game will be different; I hope also in terms of the result!"

Indeed, Tacchinardi has the utmost faith in Massimiliano Allegri's men, believing that they have the right mix of defensive discipline and attacking threat to overcome a side that he feels regularly leave themselves exposed at the back.

"I'd like so much to go out onto the field with this Juve," he admits. "Among other things, I think my characteristics would adapt well to Allegri's style of play.

"The attacking and midfield phases are so important for both teams.

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"On the one hand, I see Cristiano Ronaldo and Toni Kroos as decisive but, on the other, I trust in Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic.

"But Real have one defect: they bring so many men over the halfway line and, at certain times, they can be caught out.

"However, it's a deadly team in so many ways and Zidane has shown himself to be a great coach, very clever, and he's also very knowledgeable on Italian football.

"The Bianconeri will have to be careful and always concentrated but they have an enviable defence that has no rival in Europe, and that's without talking about their midfield and attack!

"It's certainly going to be a balanced game, one played on the edge of a razor blade.

"But, after all the reflections and analysis, I will say yes, this is the year for Juve to bring the cup back to Turin!"