UCL preview: Juventus face familiar foes in Atletico Madrid


Serie A champions, Juventus, kickstart their UEFA Champions League campaign against a familiar foe. Maurizio Sarri’s men will clash with Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, after knocking out the Spanish side last season in the Round of 16.

Both sides come into the game off the back of disappointing fixtures in their previous league games. Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. were held to a scoreless draw away to Fiorentina, in what was a lacklustre performance. Meanwhile, Los Rojiblancos fell to their first defeat of the campaign, losing 2-0 to Real Sociedad away from home.

Both sides boast immense quality and are no strangers to each other. Facing each other in the Round of 16 last season, Atleti seemingly had the tie in their favour before collapsing to a 3-0 loss in Turin, courtesy of a Ronaldo hat-trick. However, since that clash, there has been changes for both sides. Atletico are now without Felipe Luis, Juanfran, Diego Godin, Rodri, and Antoine Griezmann, with them all moving onto new clubs. The Spanish side welcomed multiple new signings including Portuguese wonder-kid Joao Felix.

Juventus also come into the game with a number of new faces. Maurizio Sarri replaced Massimiliano Allegri, whilst new players Matthijs De Ligt, Danilo, Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey all joined the club this summer. Despite Juve seeing a number of changes, they do have Cristiano Ronaldo who knows the opponent very well. The Portuguese forward has faced them 33 times in his career and has scored 25 goals and contributed 8 assists against Atletico.

Team news

Juventus have a near fully fit squad for the match against Atletico. The only injuries that the Bianconeri are contending with currently are the ones to Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia De Sciligio and Douglas Costa. Miralem Pjanic is also looking questionable for the clash.

Atletico Madrid, like Juventus, don’t have many injury concerns but the ones they do have are quite worrisome. First choice keeper, Jan Oblak, is questionable following a head injury this weekend and both Alvaro Morata and Thomas Partey are expected to miss the game through hamstring injuries.

Maurizio Sarri’s pre-game thoughts:

Sarri called for complete focus from his side whilst also highlighting the threat posed by the opponent: “We are Juventus and our objective is always to win. Atletico are one of the teams who can win the Champions League. We have to face this game with absolute determination but also with calm as we have to be able to express ourselves. We have many weapons with different characteristics.”

Diego Simeone’s pre-game thoughts:

Diego Simeone was keen to emphasise the threat that Juventus star, Cristiano Ronaldo poses to his side: “It’s difficult to get ready to face a player like Cristiano Ronaldo. He’s a goal animal,” Simeone said in his pre-match press conference,”  he continued “It’s difficult to control that. He has great skills with his head, with his shooting, making passes, running into space – what can I say about his skill? We’ve already suffered against him, sometimes we’ve won and sometimes we’ve lost. It’s clear he’s a goal animal.”


The two sides have met a total of 5 times, Juventus winning just the once with Atletico holding 3 victories, with the two sharing just the one draw. However, Juventus have never lost to Atletico playing at home with the two sides having met in Turin just the once.

Expected line-ups

Juventus – Wojciech Szczęsny; Danilo, De Ligt, Bonucci, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Rabiot, Matuidi; Bernadeschi, Higuain, Ronaldo

Atletico Madrid – Adan; Trippier, Savic, Gimenez, Lodi; Vitolo, Koke, Saul, Lemar; Costa, Felix


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