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Buffon backing Juventus to fulfil their destiny after years of woe

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Gianluigi Buffon sees a potential Champions League final return in Cardiff as the "logical conclusion" to years of hard work as his generation of players try to finally lift the trophy Juventus last won in 1996.

They lost the 2015 final 3-1 to Barcelona but, two years on, they have even more class and experience under manager Max Allegri.

They just need to get past Monaco over two legs, starting tonight in the Stade Louis II.

Buffon, at 39-years-old surely coming towards the end of his career, said that he feels Juventus' years of success will culminate in this year's final at the Millennium Stadium.

It is a sense of destiny that has informed Juventus' whole campaign, including their comprehensive quarter-final defeat of Barcelona.

This Juventus team is packed full of experienced names, including Gonzalo Higuain, Miralem Pjanic and Dani Alves, established players they signed after losing youngsters Paul Pogba and Alvaro Morata, who were involved in 2015.

It is a team set up to win the Champions League now, which is what Buffon is hoping will happen.

"Two years ago, when we reached the final against Barcelona, it was unexpected," Buffon said. "But this season it would be a logical conclusion to the work we've done, and it's important to keep this in mind."

There is a stark contrast to be drawn between the Juventus veterans, not just Buffon but Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli too, up against the youthful Monaco side of Kylian Mbappe and Bernardo Silva.

Buffon hopes that will play in Juventus' favour, but he is full of respect for the young Monaco stars.

"Experience will be more in our favour, but Monaco is a young side full of vitality," Buffon said. "I remember having this great feeling of being indestructible when I was young."

So Buffon knows that Juve's defence, the best in Europe, will need to be at their absolute best tonight.

"Monaco have scored an avalanche of goals this season," he said. "I have total respect for Monaco and whatever happens, it will be open for the return leg."

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