Barcelona take on Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on Saturday. Here we look at Wednesday’s build-up.
UEFA issue ticket warning
With the final drawing ever closer it came as no surprise when UEFA announced the match was sold out, and issued a warning to fans who may be offered tickets from unofficial sources. The governing body reminding those attending the game anyone found to have unofficial tickets will be turned away and there will be identity checks in place at the ground.
Iniesta sits one step away from history
Andres Iniesta loves the big stage as he showed in scoring the winning goal for Spain at the World Cup in 2010, but he has never scored in the Champions League final. That is not to say he has no success in the competition, though, and victory this weekend would see him equal Clarence Seedorf’s record of four titles.
Tardelli: Juve back towards glory days
Marco Tardelli – the former Juventus great and World Cup winner with Italy – has hailed his former club for rebuilding after Calciopoli saw them relegated in 2006. “The club has grown financially and won league titles again,” he told The Guardian. “It has gone back to being a Juventus club. It is going back towards the glory days”
Neymar prepared for the hardest game of the season
“We know Juventus,” Neymar told Mundo Deportivo. “They are a great team and haven’t reached the final by chance. It will be a tough game and we have to be at our best. I think the match will be the most difficult of the season. I want to make history and we are very close.”
Juve fans get a truck
While one Juve fan cycles to Berlin to watch his club play in the showpiece event of European football, another section are taking an easier route after hiring a truck to transport them all in. Tuttosport showed the group arrive at training on Wednesday, before setting off in the vehicle covered in Juve photos.
Emotions get the better of Xavi
Having already announced his intention to leave Barca after Saturday’s clash, Xavi was given a tribute ceremony at Camp Nou on Wednesday with many of his former team-mates present. And it was the kind words of Andres Iniesta that reduced the midfielder to tears: “I can’t imagine the first day of training and you’re not there with us, to advise us, providing the historical memory, making things clear to the youngsters. You’ve always thought more about the team than yourself. I thank you. You have made us all better, because you have lived through everything. I’m grateful to you, from teacher to pupil. You are a great, Xavi, thank you my friend.”
Mixed injury news for Allegri
There was good and bad news for Massimiliano Allegri as he put his side through a training session ahead of travelling to Berlin. Andrea Barzagli’s return following a thigh strain will have provided much relief for the Juve boss, however during the session he then saw Giorgio Chiellini hobble off with a calf problem, something the Serie A champions will hope is not too serious.
Puyol: Xavi deserves Champions League title
Former Barca captain Carles Puyol carried on where Iniesta left off and suggested the soon-to-be departed Xavi “deserves” to lift the Champions League trophy on his final game for the club, “he could leave the way I would have liked to” says Puyol.
Pirlo to follow Xavi?
While one midfield maestro – Xavi – is definitely leaving European shores after the match, reports in Italy suggest another could follow suit as Andrea Pirlo is linked with a move to New York City in MLS.
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