Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Juventus have emotional incentive to win

By Steven Beacom

It's semi-final time in the Champions League. No English teams, but no worries. There is more than enough quality to keep us interested and entertained tonight, tomorrow and next week.

There’s Barcelona, who are in scintillating form. So much so that lately they’ve looked as majestic as when they were labelled the best team ever a few years ago. Lionel Messi is, of course, breathtaking, but what about Luis Suarez? Right now he’s on the same level.

They take on the brilliance of Bayern Munich, led by pioneering ex-Barca coach Pep Guardiola, surrounded by class acts such as Xabi Alonso, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Muller.

Then there’s Real Madrid, aiming to become the first club to win the Champions League back to back, with the remarkable Cristiano Ronaldo and, the Robin to his Batman, Gareth Bale.

Last but not least there’s the outsiders Juventus who face Real in Turin this evening. The Serie A champions may not  play with the same swagger and style as the other three but on the plus side they do have the wonderful Andrea Pirlo.

They also have an emotional incentive. It’s been 30 years since the Heysel disaster when 39 Juve fans lost their lives at a European Cup final.

I love watching Barca, Bayern and Real, but this year I hope Juventus go all the way.

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