Former Villarreal and Juventus man Alessio Tacchinardi believes ex-Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain will decide the Champions League Final.
Tacchinardi was part of the Juve team that lost the 1998 Champions League Final to Madrid, courtesy of Predrag Mijatovic’s goal, but the midfielder is confident Higuain will come back to haunt his old club in Cardiff.
“It’ll be a game between two super teams, which deserve praise, no matter what,” he told AS.
“I hope Juve win, but honestly, both sides deserve to win the trophy.
“It’ll be a tight match. In Italy, there’s great excitement about Juve, but I hope the Bianconeri don’t underestimate the strength of this Madrid.
“Their intensity has impressed me. The Old Lady should let them take the ‘favourites’ tag because Allegri’s men draw tremendous hunger and strength from times of difficulty.
“Did I expect Zidane to be a winning Coach? Honestly, no. Or rather, I didn’t expect him to reach this level.
“He was a very quiet lad, reserved. I imagined [Didier] Deschamps to have more of that type of career.
“Still, he’s practical, he has charisma and knows how to give intensity to his team.
“Today, Madrid no longer lose to Atleti, just because their players run much more. And if they run, with the quality they have, they end up winning.
“Does this Madrid have any weaknesses? Only when they lose the ball: they attack with lots of players, and in this situation they can suffer. But it doesn’t happen very often.
“How Allegri can limit Madrid’s attack? I think he’ll go back to a three-man defence, and it’ll be complicated for them to score a goal against Juve when they play like this.
“That doesn’t mean he’ll park a bus in front of their goal. He never has, but this approach will give their rivals less space.
“The winners of the Champions League could see one of their players win the Ballon d’Or.
“Who deserves the Ballon d’Or? Obviously, I can only say Buffon. Cristiano [Ronaldo] is an example for his dedication and desire to continuously improve. He’s never full-up, despite so many successes.
“I take my hat off to him, but Gigi deserves it for his history and everything that he’s done this season. Besides, Cristiano has already won several!
“Will one of them be the decisive man in Cardiff? No, I’m betting on Higuain. He’s reached the final stretch in great shape and it could be his night.”