The end of the road for the Champions League final will take two clubs to Atlético Madrid’s new crown jewel of a stadium, the Wanda Metropolitano, on the first day of June.
It turns out Juventus will be visiting the Wanda a few months earlier.
It will be a rematch of the 2014 Champions League group stage in this season’s Round of 16. Juventus didn’t have to wait long to find out which club they will be playing in the first knockout round, with their ping pong ball being drawn against last season’s Europa League winners Atlético Madrid in what is one of the bigger matchups that the Round of 16 will have to offer come the resumption of the tournament in late-February.
So, as we seem to say a lot of the time when it comes to Juventus and Champions League draws: Could’ve been better ... could’ve been worse ... not bad in the grand scheme of it all.
There are plenty of storylines to pick up on right off the bat.
Unlike Juve’s last European opposition from Spain, Valencia, Atleti are right in the thick of the La Liga title hunt, currently all of three points behind league leaders Barcelona. Atletico, as is almost always the case during Diego Simeone’s incredibly successful tenure as head coach, are the top defense in La Liga and one of the stingiest all across Europe.
There is, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo playing his first Champions League game within Madrid city limits against his former club’s city rivals, with the hopes of Juventus’ grandiose European aspirations pinned to his chiseled shoulders.
And don’t forget that the last time Juventus and Atletico played each other in the Champions League that Atleti’s No. 9 was ... Mario Mandzukic. Oh you know he’s gonna be up for this one knowing how brief his stay in Madrid ended up being.
So, as we know now, Juventus will be making a trip to Wanda Metropolitano in February. The goal, of course, is to give themselves the chance to get back there in June.