Juventus go into the game against Real Madrid today as under dogs. Having failed to register a single win in the opening 3 fixtures of Group B, they lie a lowly 3rd behind Galatasaray and Real Madrid. The fact they aren't quite the side they once were under Lippi and whilst the balance of power now lies in Madrid, one remaining constant throughout the history of their encounters is it produces results. Out of the 16 matches the two sides have played over the last 50 years none have procuded a draw, with both teams winning 8 each. Throughout that time there's been some fantastic European ties and my first memory of one was 17 years ago.
The camera position for a televised match at the Bernabeu back in the Mid 90's was far superior then it is today and I'm not quite sure why they changed it. The elevated viewing position truly captured the sheer size and splendour of a magnificent stadium. It was March 1996 when I watched my first clash between Real Madrid vs Juventus. The stadium was packed with 80,000 noisy fans, it was the Champion’s league quarter final, it was an exhilarating experience and I was hooked. Since then there have been 9 fixtures, and I’ve not missed a single one, the following are my top five.
Top 5 Memorable Real/Juve Clashes.
5- UEFA Champion’s league ¼ final 1st Leg
Real Madrid 1:0 Juventus (Raul 20')
06/03/96 at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. Att: 80,000
There was much excitement in Madrid back in 1996, there was this 18 year old striker by the name of Raul who was the talk of the town at the time. The young prodigy justified the hype surrounding him by scoring the only goal of the game to secure a 1:0 victory for Real to take to Turin for the second leg. Despite being Spanish champions at the time Madrid weren’t as dominant in Europe in those days but the support they had was second to none. The likes of Michael Laudrop, Ivan Zamarano, Redondo, Luis Enrique and Fernando Hierro were the galacticos of the time, a slightly underwhelming but still brilliant collection of players.
It was an intricate passing move between Zamarano, Laudrop and Raul that led to this goal which sealed the tie in Madrid.
4- UEFA Champion’s league ¼ final 2nd leg
Juventus 2:0 Real Madrid (Delpiero 17', Padovano 53')
20/03/96 – Stadio delli Alpi, Turin. Att: 69,000.
If Real Madrid as a side were somewhat underwhelming in the mid 90s, Juventus were the opposite. The Bianconeri's team was littered with world class players in every position. Up front they had Ravanelli and Vialli who were two of the Europe's most powerful strikers in their prime. Del Piero was the up and coming golden boy of Calcio Italia playing just in behind. Dechamps, Eugovic and Paolo Sousa were the industrious engine in midfield. The likes of Ciro Ferrara Torricelli and Di Livio were solid at the back and of course they had the best goalkeeper in Europe at the time, Italian International Angelo Peruzzi.
Despite losing the first leg and being without goal keeper Peruzzi the old lady of Italian football went through to the semi-final with a 2:0 victory. Alex del Piero could do no wrong at the time as he slotted home a swerving free kick through the wall to level the tie on aggregate early in the first half. When the long haired Padovano drilled a left foot shot into the bottom corner to make it 2:0 the Delli Alpi erupted. Juventus held on to go through 2:1 on aggregate and would go on to win the Champion’s league beating Ajax on penalties in the final.
3- UEFA Champion’s league Final
Real Madrid 1:0 Juventus (Mijatovic 66')
20/05/98 – Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam. Att: 48,500
Despite being one of the best managers of all time, it’ likely that Marcelo Lippi will forever curse the 1998 Champions league trophy as the one that got away. Two years on from winning Europe’s top prize Juventus had solidified their reputation as the strongest team in Europe. The likes of Vialli, Ravanelli and Paolo Sousa had moved on. The replacements were players that were world class in their own right, some of whom went onto dominate world football. In Zinedine Zidane and Edgar Davids Lippi had two midfielders who not only complimented each other perfectly but remain to this day arguably two of the best of all time. Del Piero was now a fully fledged striker and the competition’s top scorer. He was supported by the most prolific Italian goal scorer at the time, Fillipo Inzaghi. Juve were the clear favourites. However the game didn’t live upto the high billing it received, perhaps the occasion got to both sides. It was a gripping game played on the knife edge but the overwhelming fear of not losing for both sides meant few chances were created. In the end, a Predrag Mijatovic goal which, despite replays suggesting was offside stood, and turned out to be the difference between the sides. It was a truly memorable moment for Madrid fans however as the side hadn't won the competition since 1966.
2- UEFA Champion’s league Semi-final 1st Leg
06/05/03 – Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. Att: 75,000
By 2003 Real Madrid’s “Galactico” era was in full flow. An excessive amount of spending had brought the likes of Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane to the club. Lippi on the other hand, now in his second spell with the Bianconeri had also added expensive signings to bolster an already formidable squad. Gigi Buffon (World’s most expensive goal keeper- £32.6 million), Lilian Thuram (£22 million), Pavel Nedved (£29 million) Gianluca Zambrotta (£7 million) and David Trezeguet (£20 million) all joined Juve’s charge to more European success.
In a match dominated by the attacking flair of Real, the home side came away with a credible 2:1 result. Ronaldo had already showed why he was still one of the best strikers in the world by sending Manchester United out of the competition with a hat trick at Old Trafford in the previous round. He scored another one in this leg and despite Roberto Carlos adding another one later on, Trezeguet’s away goal meant Juve’s hopes of progressing to the final were still alive.
1- UEFA Champion’s league Semi-final 2nd leg
Juventus 3:1 Real Madrid (Trezeguet 12', Delpiero 43', Nedved 73', Zidane 89')
14/05/03 – Stadio delli Alpi, Turin. Att: 67,300
This, the second leg of the 2003 Champion’s league semi-final remains to this day one of the most exciting games between the clubs in living memory. Madrid came into the tie as slight favourites and coach Vicente Del Bosque adopted a more defensive approach leaving Morientes and Ronaldo on the bench. The decision backfired spectacularly as Juventus dispatched the Madrid giants 3:1 going through 4:2 on aggregate.
The main hero for Juve was Pavel Nedved. The Czech midfielder pulled all the strings on the night and comprehensively outshone the man he’d replaced, Zinedine Zidane. In fact most of the crucial moments of the game involved Juve’s new recuits. David Trezeguet was the man to get the comeback started early in the first half. Combining superbly with newly appointed captain Del Piero on the left, the Frenchman’s left footed volley gave Madrid keeper Casillas no chance. Just before half time it was the Juve’s skipper’s turn to write himself into Bianconeri folklore with a sublime goal. Deftly controlling a long ball on the left, Delpiero weaved his way into the box before despatching a low drive into the bottom left hand corner. After half time Del Bosque throw on Ronaldo to try and wrestle back the initiative and it nearly worked as the Brazilian won a penalty before the half hour mark. It was Gigi Buffon’s turn however to perform heroics as his full stretch dive saved the penalty sending noise levels at Delli Alpi through the roof. But Juve weren’t finished yet. With less than 20 minutes remaining Zambrotta sent a long hopeful ball through the Madrid centre. The ever present Nedved then proceeded to race past the Madrid defence volleying first time into the top corner as the stadium erupted once more. Zidane did get a consolation at the end however the Bianconeri had completed an incredible comeback against one of the best sides in the world. It was a magical game of football, highlights of which you can see here.