In just a short amount of time, Juventus and Barcelona will square off once again. It will have been about 22 months since they last played one another. And no, if you’re thinking that their meeting this summer is going to be thrown into the mix, you know that you’ve got another thing coming your way.
The Champions League quarterfinals are here. Barcelona is here. Juventus, obviously, is also here. The fans, packing Juventus Stadium to the freaking rafters, are here. I am here. You are here. We’re all here. And all of us, every single Juventus supporter, Barcelona supporter and football-watching man or woman are here.
Now we wait. And watch. And hopefully cheer.
This is the day we’ve been waiting to see take place ever since the Champions League draw took place and Juventus were matched up against Barcelona. Within the next nine days we will know if Juve’s European adventure goes on another round or that it will start up again next season when the group stage gets underway. There are only two options for Max Allegri’s men — they can either win and advance, or they’ll be left watching the Champions League semifinals and final from the comfort of their own couches or a vacation resort come the first Saturday in June.
The goal, as Juventus made us well aware of during the summer weeks and early stages of the 2016-17 season is a deep European run, with the chance that spending the third day of June in Cardiff would be a massive target. Their ambitions told us they were serious about it. Their summer additions — Hi, Gonzalo Higuain, thank you for signing with Juventus — told us they were serious about it.
Now it’s time, against one of the best clubs in the world, for them to show what they’re made of. The road doesn’t end here. There’s still 90 more minutes at the very minimum at the Camp Nou to play out next week. But first blood is first blood. Landing the first punch is landing the first punch. And let’s just hope that it’s Juventus doing so and not Gigi Buffon picking the ball out of the back of his net with an angry look on his face.
Nobody likes an angry Gigi. I know I don’t.
Location: Juventus Stadium, Turin, Italy
Kick-off time: 8:45 p.m. local time in Italy; 7:45 p.m. in the United Kingdom; 2:45 p.m. on the East Coast; 11:45 a.m. on the West Coast
Juventus starting XI (4-2-3-1): Buffon; Dani Alves, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Khedira, Pjanic; Cuadrado, Dybala, Mandzukic; Higuain
Juventus bench: Neto, Marchisio, Barzagli, Lemina, Asamoah, Lichtsteiner, Rincon
Barcelona starting XI (3-4-3): Ter Stegen; Pique, Umtiti, Mathieu; Mascherano, Rakitic, Iniesta, Sergi Roberto; Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Barcelona bench: Cillessen, Denis, Alcacer, Jordi Alba, Digne, Andre Gomes, Alena
TV: Fox Sports 1 USA, FOX Deportes (United States); TSN1, TSN4 (Canada); BT Sport 2 (United Kingdom); PremiumSport HD, Canale 5, RSI La 2 (Italy)
Online: WatchESPN/ESPN3, fuboTV, Fox Soccer 2GO USA, Fox Sports GO (United States); TSN Go (Canada); BT Sport Live Streaming (United Kingdom); Premium Play (Italy)
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