Massimiliano Allegri admits it can sometimes seem virtually impossible to combat Barcelona and their “stratospheric” all-star forward line, but the Juventus boss insists the Champions League final is no foregone conclusion.
Juve were considered underdogs to reach their first European final since 2003 after drawing holders Real Madrid in the semi-finals, but Allegri’s men upset the odds to seal their berth in Berlin next month.
Having won the first leg against Real 2-1 at home, Juve then held their big-spending opponents to a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night to progress 3-2 on aggregate and wreck the possibility of a mouthwatering title decider between Real and Barca.
Barca now stand in Juve’s way of a third European title, and while Allegri knows the treble-chasing Catalans and their South American strikeforce of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez pose a formidable challenge, he also has faith in his own side.
“We hope it will go well. We’ll see which team is in the best shape in a month’s time,” said Allegri, whose club have lost five of their last seven European Cup finals and last lifted the title in the 1994-95 campaign.
“Barcelona make it look almost impossible to play against them, everyone can see that.
“They have those three players forward that are stratospheric but we have the quality to do well.
“But in a given game anything can happen.”
Despite the first-leg scoreline, Real were still expected to turn things around in front of their own fans on Wednesday and were on course for an all-Spanish showdown with Barca when Cristiano Ronaldo put them ahead from the penalty spot.
However, former Real forward Alvaro Morata’s second-half equaliser on his old stomping ground put Juve back in front on aggregate, and Carlo Ancelotti’s hosts could not find any way back.
An elated Allegri said: “Incredible but true. To have reached the final is very important for Italian football.
“To play in Madrid against Real and play well is not easy. You have to play very technical football and limit them.
“We’ve got to the final by believing in our ability and that belief has grown and grown.”
Juve have also reached the Coppa Italia final and will take on Lazio next month, looking to lift the trophy for the first time since 1995.
Allegri added: “We have a Coppa Italia final coming up which is hugely important for us. Then we have this massive game in Berlin.”
Meanwhile, Juve defender Patrice Evra has warned Barca forward Suarez he will make sure the Uruguayan “feels his presence” head in the Champions League final.But the Manchester United defender said he would shake the striker’s hand before the match.
The pair controversially clashed when Premier League opponents, then-Liverpool forward Suarez snubbing Evra during the pre-match handshakes at Old Trafford in 2012 as they met for the first time since Suarez was banned for eight matches for racially abusing the Frenchman.
On the prospect of going up against Suarez again, Evra said: ”It doesn’t matter. The most important thing is I play the final.
“I am proud to be what I am, I am proud about my colour and I will shake his hand. But I will make sure he feels my presence on the pitch.”
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