Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, left, and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo highlight a Uefa Champions League final not short on world-class players. EPA composite
Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, left, and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo highlight a Uefa Champions League final not short on world-class players. EPA composite

Diego Forlan: Juventus v Real Madrid the perfect Champions League final, but I would love to see Buffon win it



Diego Forlan writes a weekly column for The National, appearing each Friday. The former Manchester United, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid striker has been the top scorer in Europe twice and won the Golden Boot at the 2010 World Cup. Forlan's column is written with the assistance of European football correspondent Andy Mitten.

Juventus against Real Madrid, what a Uefa Champions League final we have to look forward to, after the semi-finals were decided this week. I do not think there has been a more evenly matched final for years.

Madrid, the holders, have a better attack; Juventus, who knocked them out in 2015, have a better defence. Yet Juventus have Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic and Juan Cuadrado in attack, all top level players, all match winners, all in form.

Do I need to say anything about Madrid’s attack? That will make them the favourites as they hope to become the first team in the Champions League era to retain the trophy. But what I like about both teams is how they can vary their games. Both like to play good attacking football, both can switch formations, they can counterattack, they can absorb or apply pressure, slow the game or speed it up, play long balls or neat passes.

Zinedine Zidane is relatively new to management, but he has impressed me tactically and especially how he has used his squad players and varied his tactics. Massimiliano Allegri is a tactical master. One of the best games I saw him in charge of was the 2015 semi-final second leg at the Bernabeu, when Juventus went through, at Madrid’s expense, by controlling a game where they did not have the ball. It sounds like a contradiction. It wasn’t.

__________________________________

More on the Uefa Champions League

■ In pictures: Real Madrid and their fans celebrate as Atletico Madrid leave dejected

■ Highlights: Dani Alves inspires Juventus to victory over Monaco and into final

__________________________________

Both teams have truly great squads with so much talent that wonderful players will be on the bench for the final in Cardiff. They have everything – that has got them to where they are today and almost no weaknesses. They are both really hard to beat.

Juventus may have lost Paul Pogba, but they are better than they were when they lost the 2015 final to Barcelona. They are more experienced, wiser and confident in their own abilities. They showed all of that by going to Camp Nou and defending a 3-0 lead in the quarter-final second leg. They have Dani Alves in a great moment, full of experience, talent and determination to prove that he has still got what it takes to perform at the highest level, just like Patrice Evra did. Alves was excellent against Monaco in the semi-final.

I would love to see Gianluigi Buffon win the Champions League at the end of his career. That would be like a movie with the happy ending that everyone wants. He is 39 and still at a very high level. I am not saying that he should stop playing and besides, if he wins then he will want to win the Fifa Club World Cup, to be held in Abu Dhabi in December, but it would be great for him to be a European champion after being runner-up in 2003 and 2015. He has won almost everything, including the World Cup.

Juventus could win a sixth successive Serie A title this weekend – their 33rd scudetto – a record. They have remained excellent in Europe alongside their domestic dominance.

That has gone against other clubs. You could see Glasgow Celtic or Paris Saint-German winning every week and then being stung when they suddenly come up against a much better opponent in Europe. I think Bayern Munich would be better if there were three or four stronger German teams too, so it is to Juventus’ credit that they have been even better in Europe.

They also did something at the start of this season which strengthened their position domestically: they signed Higuain, the best player of their main rivals. Not only did they get a great striker, they damaged their closest opponents. It was similar to what Real Madrid did to Barcelona when they signed Luis Figo, who had been their best player.

Juventus have also done really well in spite of injuries and in spite of losing Pogba, who the players thought would stay, plus Evra mid-season. Allegri has a solid, trusted core. That final against Barcelona came at the end of his first season at Juventus. This one comes at the end of his third. He is ready.

While I am looking forward to the final immensely, I am also disappointed that Atletico Madrid are not in it. They lost the tie in the first leg at the Bernabeu, but were excellent in the second leg in the first half when they went 2-0 up against Real after 16 minutes. They almost did it; they had Real on the ropes. That magnificent, noisy, Calderon crowd, who I love so much, were on form; they really believed that it was possible.

But then Real showed why they are the champions. Karim Benzema stung. The save from Jan Oblak was first class, but then it was cruel, a rebound for Isco. It also gave Real a crucial away goal, but then they always score. They had scored in their previous 61 matches. They are always a danger, even though they have benefited from some decisions which have helped them, as when Arturo Vidal was sent off for Bayern Munich in the quarter final after Bayern had done so well.

At least the Calderon got to witness a great last European game, with Atletico beating Real Madrid 2-1 on the night. I hope the final in Cardiff, a stadium I played at with Manchester United and one which is fit for the biggest game in European club football between the two best sides in the world on current form, does their talent justification.

The atmosphere at Cardiff, where the stands rise steeply from the pitch and the fans are always in a good mood, will be wonderful.

sports@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE

Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport

MO

Creators: Mohammed Amer, Ramy Youssef

Stars: Mohammed Amer, Teresa Ruiz, Omar Elba

Rating: 4/5

The specs

Engine: 3.0 twin-turbo inline six-cylinder
Transmission: eight-speed
Power: 503hp
Torque: 600Nm
Price: from Dh400,000 (estimate)
On sale: now

EA Sports FC 24

Developer: EA Vancouver, EA Romania
Publisher: EA Sports
Consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox One
Rating: 3.5/5

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

'Unrivaled: Why America Will Remain the World’s Sole Superpower'
Michael Beckley, Cornell Press

VEZEETA PROFILE

Date started: 2012

Founder: Amir Barsoum

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: HealthTech / MedTech

Size: 300 employees

Funding: $22.6 million (as of September 2018)

Investors: Technology Development Fund, Silicon Badia, Beco Capital, Vostok New Ventures, Endeavour Catalyst, Crescent Enterprises’ CE-Ventures, Saudi Technology Ventures and IFC

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

Why your domicile status is important

Your UK residence status is assessed using the statutory residence test. While your residence status – ie where you live - is assessed every year, your domicile status is assessed over your lifetime.

Your domicile of origin generally comes from your parents and if your parents were not married, then it is decided by your father. Your domicile is generally the country your father considered his permanent home when you were born. 

UK residents who have their permanent home ("domicile") outside the UK may not have to pay UK tax on foreign income. For example, they do not pay tax on foreign income or gains if they are less than £2,000 in the tax year and do not transfer that gain to a UK bank account.

A UK-domiciled person, however, is liable for UK tax on their worldwide income and gains when they are resident in the UK.

Our legal advisor

Ahmad El Sayed is Senior Associate at Charles Russell Speechlys, a law firm headquartered in London with offices in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong.

Experience: Commercial litigator who has assisted clients with overseas judgments before UAE courts. His specialties are cases related to banking, real estate, shareholder disputes, company liquidations and criminal matters as well as employment related litigation. 

Education: Sagesse University, Beirut, Lebanon, in 2005.

GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE CARD

The line-up as it stands for the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia on April 27

50-man Royal Rumble

Universal Championship
Brock Lesnar (champion) v Roman Reigns

Casket match
The Undertaker v Rusev

Intercontinental Championship
Seth Rollins (champion) v The Miz v Finn Balor v Samoa Joe

SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The Bludgeon Brothers v The Usos

Raw Tag Team Championship
Sheamus and Cesaro v Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy

United States Championship
Jeff Hardy (champion) v Jinder Mahal

Singles match
Triple H v John Cena

To be confirmed
AJ Styles will defend his WWE World Heavyweight title and Cedric Alexander his Cruiserweight Championship, but matches have yet to be announced

Biog

Mr Kandhari is legally authorised to conduct marriages in the gurdwara

He has officiated weddings of Sikhs and people of different faiths from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Russia, the US and Canada

Father of two sons, grandfather of six

Plays golf once a week

Enjoys trying new holiday destinations with his wife and family

Walks for an hour every morning

Completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Loyola College, Chennai, India

2019 is a milestone because he completes 50 years in business

 

The biog

Born: Kuwait in 1986
Family: She is the youngest of seven siblings
Time in the UAE: 10 years
Hobbies: audiobooks and fitness: she works out every day, enjoying kickboxing and basketball

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

The Bio

Ram Buxani earned a salary of 125 rupees per month in 1959

Indian currency was then legal tender in the Trucial States.

He received the wages plus food, accommodation, a haircut and cinema ticket twice a month and actuals for shaving and laundry expenses

Buxani followed in his father’s footsteps when he applied for a job overseas

His father Jivat Ram worked in general merchandize store in Gibraltar and the Canary Islands in the early 1930s

Buxani grew the UAE business over several sectors from retail to financial services but is attached to the original textile business

He talks in detail about natural fibres, the texture of cloth, mirrorwork and embroidery 

Buxani lives by a simple philosophy – do good to all

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Latest
Most Read
Top Videos