Published: Sat, June 03, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Ronaldo looks to break new ground at Champions League final

However, it is this goal-setting and hard-working that has put Ronaldo back in contention for the coveted prize, so much so that he is now the favourite to win it after helping Real Madrid lift La Liga and put in a position where they can become the first team ever to retain the Champions League in its current format.

Christiano Ronaldo, has been in a similar situation before with previous club Manchester United. "I feel good and want to be fit and firing because this is where things are decided", he said in a recent interview.

Ronaldo, however, is unlikely to find much freedom against Juventus, a team with one of the best defences in soccer. "But we're also in top form and that's enough for me", asserts Juventus goalkeeper Gialnluigi Buffon.

With 10 goals to his name, he needs one more to equal Messi's tally in this season's competition and become a Champions League top scorer for the fifth season running.

Juventus enjoyed a more sedate climax to the Serie A season, cantering home to a sixth successive title as well as winning the Coppa Italia.

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Dutch club Ajax beat Greek champion Panathinaikos 2-0 at Wembley to win the first of three consecutive European Cups. I haven't played a lot of football this year since my operation, so that would be hard .

"We have to defend our title and we have that motivational extra of being the first team in history to win it twice in a row", said Real captain Sergio Ramos (pictured above, right).

At the heart of that Juventus defence is a guy looking to become the oldest Champions League victor: 39-year-old goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. The Champions League final is about to get very real for Los Blancos as they arrive in the city they'll aim for a 12th European Cup. The space led to him combining effectively with Mario Mandzukic and Paulo Dybala, who plays an extremely vital role on the forward line with his powerful left foot. I play freely. I play on the wing, down the middle. "It was not just the gift of pure talent". Now it's about preventing a repeat of the 2015 final loss to Barcelona.

" It's another opportunity for us to go out there and show who we are, a great team", Ramos said. "The atmosphere has improved".

Zidane, the once hot-headed playmaker whose last act of an illustrious on-field career was slamming his head into the chest of Italy defender Marco Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup final, has quickly establish himself as a diligent and intelligent coach. Since then, the Bianconeri have suffered defeats against Borussia Dortmund (1996-97), Real Madrid (1997-98), Inter Milan (2002-03) and Barcelona (2014-15).

"I already admired him as a player", Ronaldo said, "and now I admire him even more as a coach because he's a very positive person - a hard worker and very respectful towards the players".

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