Champions League Final Analysis: Can Ronaldo and Real break down a solid Juventus defence in Cardiff?

Champions League Final Analysis: Can Ronaldo and Real break down a solid Juventus defence in Cardiff?

Real Madrid are hunting a third Champions League title in four years but their opponents Juventus are back to their best.

Chris Lincoln

The proverbial European Cup "bridesmaids" will be glowing with confidence for the first time since their last triumph 21 years ago. However, a composed Juventus outfit are faced with a Real Madrid side bidding to become the first side in Champions League history to defend the title as they target a record twelfth success.

Exciting Real attackers take on the best defence in Europe

The Spanish champions have averaged more shots at goal than any other side in the competition this season, manufacturing 19.6 per game. They boast more goals than any of their rivals, netting 32 with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring eleven of them. With the Portugal captain just one behind this season's top goalscorer and his great rival Lionel Messi, the enigma will have his sights set on being the hero again.

Yet this will be Real's toughest task yet. Italian sides are well renowned for having tight defensive units and Juventus have shipped just three Champions League goals all season. The experienced trio of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci are three of the most intelligent defenders in the game. However, they will have to lean on all of their experience against the pace of Ronaldo and potentially Gareth Bale.

Bale or Isco?

Welsh wizard Bale will be desperate to start in his home country but his match fitness is in doubt following a recent injury. A legend of both Clubs currently leading Real, Zinedine Zidane, will be faced with the dilemna of selecting either Bale or Isco who has been one of Real's best players this season. The direct play of Bale will pose a problem for the ageing Juventus defence, though Isco has the movement and passing ability to dictate play in between the lines.

Former Real stalwart Sami Khedira could be tasked with keeping tabs on either player, whilst Karim Benzema supports Ronaldo further forward. Yet the likes of Miralem Pjanic and Claudio Marchisio will have busy day looking to press the talented passers in the Real squad.

Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will look to dominate the tempo of the game in a Real midfield that rarely wastes a pass at an average of 87% passing accuracy. Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala will have to put the hard graft into tracking back alongside showing their quality when going forward.

Dybala's chance to shine

Argentina's Dybala will be the man tasked with creating opportunities for Juventus. His natural ability and talent on the ball is unquestionable but does he have the experience and temperament to produce on the big stage against arguably the best Club side on the globe? He may be afforded a lifeline if his opponent Casemiro lunges one too many times at the youngster as he is liable to do.

The 23-year old will be supported by a Juventus squad that are just as talented going forward as they are defensively. Brazilian wing-backs Alex Sandro and Dani Alves are at opposite stages of their career but the latter has already set up four goals in the Champions League this season. Former Barcelona legend Alves faces an exciting battle against fellow Brazilian Marcelo. Expect plenty of energy on that side of the pitch.

Defensive frailties for Real

Regular Real right-back Dani Carvajal has the same assist record as his Juventus counterpart but remains doubtful going into the Final. Danilo is expected to deputise bu the highly rated Sandro may fancy his chances of feeding the likes of Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain.

The outcome of the game could depend a lot on the performance of Sergio Ramos. The Spanish defender is one of the best goalscoring defenders in the game from set-pieces and is a talent in his natural position of centre-back. Yet his temperament is questionable and he always has a mistake within his game.

The most expensive South American in history at 90 million Euros, namely Gonzalo Higuain, will be looking to haunt Ramos and his former Club after previously netting over 100 goals for the Spanish giants.