Cardiff - Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos says an
"appointment with history" awaits his side and Juventus in Saturday's
glamour Champions League final at Cardiff's Principality Stadium.
Ramos is hoping to lift the trophy for the third time in
four years, which would make Zinedine Zidane's team the first to have
successfully defended it in the Champions League era.
Juventus, who have lost four finals since winning the
tournament for a second time in 1996, are seeking to complete the first treble
of Serie A, Coppa Italia and European Cup crowns in their history.
"We have an appointment with history," Ramos told
reporters on the eve of the game in the Welsh capital.
"We never dreamed of this opportunity, but the stats
"For us it's a wonderful opportunity to take the cup
home. Then history speaks for itself."
The final carries with it a bewildering array of potential
milestones and intriguing personal subplots.
As well as becoming the first team to retain the trophy
since Arrigo Sacchi's all-conquering AC Milan in 1990, Madrid can complete
their first Liga and European Cup double since the 1957-58 season.
Chasing a fourth Champions League win, Madrid talisman
Cristiano Ronaldo needs one goal to equal Lionel Messi's tally of 11 and become
a Champions League top scorer for the fifth year in a row.
Juventus can become the eighth European club to have
completed the Treble and the second from Italy, after Jose Mourinho's Inter
Milan in 2010.
But no team has lost more European Cup finals than their six
and they have lost their last four in succession, including a 1-0 defeat by
Madrid in the 1998 decider in Amsterdam.
Juve right-back Dani Alves can become the first player to
win three European Trebles, having previously achieved the feat twice with
Meanwhile, three players - Juve pair Sami Khedira and
Gonzalo Higuain and Madrid striker Alvaro Morata - and Real coach Zidane will
be going up against their former club.
With thoughts of last week's deadly terror attack in
Manchester still fresh in the memory, there will be tight security around the
game and fans have been banned from bringing bags into the stadium.
Security concerns also mean the roof of the Principality
Stadium will be closed, making it the first final in the competition's history
to be played in indoor conditions.
"I think if there is a roof, it was obviously built to
be used," said sanguine Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who has lost
Champions League finals in 2003 and 2015.
"I think it's quite normal. I don't mind. I've already
played in such conditions, in Amsterdam against Ajax and at the 2002 World Cup,
and there's no real difference.
"If it preserves the pitch and the show, that's
With both teams at full-strength, the main source of
intrigue concerns whether Zidane will pick Cardiff native Gareth Bale, who has
been out since April 23 with a calf problem, or, as expected, keep faith with
While 11-time champions Madrid possess the competition's
sharpest attack, Juve boast its meanest defence, having successively shut down
the sparkling attacks of Barcelona and Monaco en route to Cardiff.
Zidane believes it should make for an entertaining
"I have played and lived in Juve. I don't expect just
defence," said the Frenchman, who spent five years in Turin between 1996
"They have so much more than that. It will be an open
game and that's good."
Juve were convincingly beaten by Barcelona in their last
final appearance in 2015, but coach Massimiliano Allegri says none of his
players will be thinking about the past.
"We've lost six finals, but history doesn't
count," said the former AC Milan coach.
"There's no point thinking of what happened 15, 20 or
50 years ago. We just need to do what we need to do to bring the cup