As my colleague eloquently explains in another article (NB: in German), our football theories suggest Real Madrid should win the Champions League, but Juventus might win it.
At the risk of causing an icy atmosphere at our next editorial meeting, I disagree. Juventus must win.
I cannot argue with the science. Under normal circumstances, a close analysis of haircuts, Venus players, pirates, invisible actors, shirt numbers and other key factors offers indisputable evidence for a Real win.
But these are not normal circumstances.
A final, especially the Champions League final, operates outside the traditional rules of football science. They are anomalies, where laws are bent and twisted by other-worldly forces. In particular, by the story. By fate. By the dark hand of the Moirai.
Destiny is an unfeeling mistress, but she responds to the gentle caress of a manager who understands the power of narrative. But this narrative must be plausible. If not, the shoots of belief will die before they reach the players, crowd and officials. And this is where Juventus has a decisive advantage.
The possibilities for Massimiliano Allegri are endless. For example:
- Dybala (shirt number 21) to give Juventus their first CL win in 21 years
- Third time lucky…Buffon, that great global goalkeeping icon, to win his first European club title at the age of 39
- The renaissance of Italian soccer led by a Juventus win
- The underdogs rising to defeat CL royalty
- etc. etc.
It is the Moirai who will take the qualities of the Juventus team and draw them up into the heavens in a whirlwind of divine approval. On this day, names like Chiellini and Bonucci will resonate with the defensive prowess of generations of Italian hardmen.
Higuaín will wear the scruffy beard of a thousand Argentinean goalscorers. He is Kempes. He is Crespo. He is Batistuta. He is Maradona.
Mandžukić will soar on the wings of the 1998 World Cup, a checkerboard of red and white, the spirits of Prosinecki and Šuker whispering words of power in the Cardiff air.
And Alves? He will tower above the pitch like a wraith summoned from the very pits of hell, bringing despair and destruction to Real. All while riding a bull bearing the blue and red of their arch nemesis, Barcelona.
It is decided. It is done. The Old Lady has won.
(Alternatively, Real might sneak it with a last-minute goal by Sergio Ramos.)