Serie A champions Juventus will battle Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals tonight looking to once again stamp their authority on European football.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side sealed their fourth straight league triumph with a 1-0 win at Sampdoria on Saturday, but the celebrations were muted, with everyone at the club aware of the importance of the two upcoming matches with the Spanish giants.
“For various reasons we can’t celebrate the title the way we have on other occasions, because the importance of tonight’s game is undeniable,” admitted Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.
Last year Juve crashed out embarrassingly in the group stages of the Champions League, before going on to lose a Europa League semi-final clash with Benfica.
The previous season they were taken apart 4-0 on aggregate in the quarter-finals by eventual European champions Bayern Munich.
They go into the semi-final seen by most as the weakest side left in the competition, and Madrid have a team of superstars of the sort that Juve would have once had.