28 minOh my days! That was absolutely sensational! Juve have been piling on the pressure in the last few minutes and they draw level in spectacular fashion as Higuain works the ball to Mandzukic in the box, he controls the ball with his chest and, with his back to goal and little room to manoeuvre, strikes it over his head and beyond Navas in the Real goal!
27 minGOAL! JUVENTUS 1-1 REAL MADRID (MARIO MANDZUKIC)
23 minThat was Ronaldo’s 104th Champions League goal and his third in a CL final. Literally running out of superlatives to describe the guy.
21 minAnd the deadlock is broken in Cardiff, courtesy of the great Ronaldo, but it was wonderful football by Real to split the Juve defence open! Los Blancos maraud down the pitch as Benzema finds Cristiano, the Portuguese plays a quick one-two into the box with Carvajal and curls the ball past Buffon from just inside the area!
20 minGOAL! JUVENTUS 0-1 REAL MADRID (CRISTIANO RONALDO)
19 minMandzukic and Ramos have a bit of afters after the Real defender nudges his opponent to the ground in the box.
17 minReal continue to grow into the game as Marcelo and Benzema play a one-two before the Brazilian whips a cross into the box, but Juve’s defence remains strong as ever and Chiellini gets the ball away.
15 minCasemiro gives away the ball in the centre but Higuain fails to capitalise as Madrid win possession back, before Carvajal goes on to give away a free kick deep inside the Juve half.
13 minReal starting to apply a bit more pressure as Benzema goes down the left channel and crosses into the Juve area, but Chiellini heads clear.
12 minBOOKING: First yellow of the night goes to Dybala, who’s cautioned for clattering into Kroos as the Real man looked to break away.
Ronaldo gets on the ball on the inside right channel and plays it forward, but Juventus
clear their lines. Close to 10 minutes played and the Italians have been the better side by far.
7 minCHANCE! Best one of the game so far and it’s Juve who threaten once again as they work the ball into the final third and a poor defensive header from Carvajal sees Pjanic perfectly placed on the edge of the box, but his sweetly struck drive is acrobatically palmed away by Navas.
5 minCHANCE! Higuain has a pop at goal from distance and Navas spills the ball but, with no Juve player nearby, the keeper has plenty of time to gather.
4 minAlves dispossesses Kroos and whips a cross in towards Higuain but the latter’s header is easily saved by Navas in the Real goal.
3 minIsco and Benzema combine down the left touchline, but Barzagli is quickly out to snuff out the danger.
2 minJuve are wearing their usual kit of black and white stripes, white shorts and white socks, while Real are wearing their all-purple third kit – the Italians make a bright start down into Real’s final third but Modric is hacked down by Khedira for a free kick.
0 minKICKOFF! The 2017 Champions League final is finally underway as Juventus get things started!
7.47pmThe handshakes are now out of the way and finally the players can get down to business. Kickoff is immiment!
7.45pmAnd here they come! The Champions League anthem blares out for the last time this season as all the players and personnel come out onto the Principality pitch. Now comes ambassador Ian Rush with the trophy itself… the ultimate prize.
7.43pmTwo minutes to go until kickoff and all the props for that performance have to be taken off the pitch. The players are standing around anxiously in the tunnel just wanting to get on with it…
7.40pmNow for a performance on the pitch by the Black Eyed Peas, which also features a load of dancers and plenty of flashing lights. The crowd’s loving it… (shifty eyes emoji)
In addition, Alvaro Morata or Mario Mandzukic could become only the third player to score in the European Cup/Champions League final for two different teams after Velibor Vasovic (Partizan Belgrade, Ajax) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester Utd, Real Madrid
) – Morata netted for Juventus in the 2015 final whilst Mandzukic scored against Dortmund in the 2013 contest.
7.35pmSo what more history can be made tonight? Well, Ronaldo or Sergio Ramos could become only the second player to score in three different European Cup/Champions League finals after Alfredo Di Stefano, who found the net in five different finals.
7.33pmRonaldo has reached the 10-goal mark for the sixth consecutive Champions League campaign – no other player has done it on more than two consecutive seasons. He’s also played more than any other outfield player in this season’s competition.
7.30pmRonaldo… well, what hasn’t been said about the Portuguese prodigy? Another season, another load of records broken. This will be his fifth European Cup/Champions League final – only three players have featured in more: Paolo Maldini, Paco Gento (8), and Alfredo Di Stefano (7).
7.28pmAlongside Buffon and Bale, two other players in the spotlight tonight will be Gonzalo Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo. Juve’s Argentine striker will line up against his former side after four years of superb form in Italy, and is eager to exorcise his miss in the World Cup final against Germany in 2014, which he claims haunts him to this day.
7.26pm“We know all about pressure at Real Madrid. We’re always favourites, but in reality in a final there are no favourites. We’re not favourites, nor are Juventus. It’s 50-50. But we’re in the final again, and everything is possible. I expect an open game on both sides. I’ve lived and been at Juventus, in Italy there’s the famous catenaccio, but Juve don’t just have that. I expect an open game.”
7.23pmNow for some words from Zizou: “We’ve done a lot of work all season, to win the Liga and to get to this final. What’s most important is that we’re all prepared, and we are. In football, you have to give it your all. I’ve lost many matches, so I know it’s possible to lose. It’s the same for Juventus. We’re going to try to play our game; we know we’re going to play against a great team. What everyone who likes football wants to see is to see a great final.”
7.21pm“Two finals in three years is an important step but it is not enough. We have to win and we must be tough, technically and tactically. We aren’t here to visit Cardiff – we came here to win and take that trophy back home. In 2015 we got to the final and deserved it but perhaps we didn’t feel confident enough because we had come out of a number of years of struggling in the Champions League. We didn’t expect to win but now it is different.”© AFP
7.18pmNow for some words from the managers, starting with Max Allegri: “We have worked hard all year and the wins this season have been all about reaching this game. But we need to win and we need to understand when will be the moments to attack and when to defend. We have to have the belief that we can bring that cup home and we have to be fiendish to strike when Real offer us an opening.”
7.15pmJust the one goal settled it that night – will it be a similar scoreline tonight? Given Real’s wonderful attacking credentials and Juve’s world-class defence, it will be interesting to see whether it will be a multi-goal thriller or a tight affair.
7.12pmHEAD TO HEAD: These two have met 18 times before in the European Cup – but only once in the final. The year was 1998, the venue the Amsterdam Arena in the Netherlands, and the winners Real, thanks to Predrag Mijatovic’s 66th-minute goal.
7.09pmRoars from the crowd as both sets of players come out and begin their warm-ups on the pitch. The atmosphere is absolutely electric here.
7.07pmLos Blancos were then given a relatively easy last-16 draw and indeed beat Napoli 6-2 on aggregate before vanquishing Bayern Munich 6-3 on aggregate in the quarters, and they once again got the better of city rivals Atletico Madrid – the third time in four seasons – with a 4-2 aggregate win.
7.05pmNamed in Group F alongside Borussia Dortmund, Legia Warsaw and Sporting Lisbon, Real had a fairly easy time in their group, finishing eight points ahead of third-placed Legia, but behind Dortmund.
7.03pmIt didn’t get any easier in the semi-finals for Juve, having to face a highly impressive AS Monaco side brimming with young world-class talent, but the Bianconeri made light work of them too, beating them 4-1 on aggregate to make the final in Cardiff.
7.00pmSo how did tonight’s contenders get to the final? Let’s start with Juventus, who topped Group H ahead of Sevilla, Lyon and Dinamo Zagreb before making light work of Porto in the last 16, winning 3-0 on aggregate, then facing the mighty Barcelona in the quarters – and coming out on top with another 3-0 aggregate scoreline.
6.57pmThere are seven changes from the Bianconeri XI which saw the Serie A season out against Bologna a week ago, but with Allegri having opted to rest his first-team stars for what was essentially a dead rubber, the team is now back to full strength and raring to go ahead of tonight’s clash.
6.54pmJUVENTUS SUBS: Neto, Benatia, Lichtsteiner, Cuadrado, Marchisio, Lemina, Asamoah
6.52pmMassimiliano Allegri has named the same Juve XI that started the second leg of their semi-final against AS Monaco last month. Gianluigi Buffon in goal, while Mario Mandzukic, Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala lead the attack.
6.50pmJUVENTUS STARTING XI: Buffon, Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini, Alves, Sandro, Pjanic, Khedira, Dybala, Mandzukic, Higuain
6.49pmNow for the Juve line-up…
6.47pmZidane has made just one change from Real’s La Liga win over Malaga on the final day of the season two weeks ago as Dani Carvajal starts over Danilo at right-back, while James Rodriguez has not made the 18-man squad and Lucas Vazquez also misses out.
6.45pmAs many predicted, Bale has not been picked in the Los Blancos starting XI. Zidane has opted to give the in-form Isco the nod, while the Welshman may get the chance to impress from the bench.
6.43pmREAL MADRID SUBS: Casilla, Nacho, Bale, Kovacic, Asensio, Morata, Danilo
6.42pmREAL MADRID STARTING XI: Navas, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Isco, Ronaldo, Benzema
6.40pmWe finally have our team news and needless to say, Mr Palmeri has got his prediction wrong…
6.39pmDefeat to Barcelona two years ago looked like it would be his last opportunity to lift the Champions League but, at 39, the evergreen Italian is back for another tilt at glory.
6.36pmOn the subject of sub-plots, here’s another big one – Gianluigi Buffon. Arguably the greatest goalkeeper of all time, the Juventus man has pretty much won everything there is to win in football – but the Champions League medal is one notable omission. Will he put it right tonight and, if not, will he get another chance, given that he turns 40 next year?
6.33pmWe’re expecting team news to come through in the next 10 minutes or so, but here’s an interesting tweet from Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri…
Confirmations on Real Madrid starting with Bale and 4-3-3! Florentino won it again. Suicidal?
— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) 3 June 2017
6.30pmBale has been sidelined since picking up a calf injury against Barcelona on April 23, but he is now fit – however, will Zidane pick him in the starting XI over the in-form Isco, who has scored five goals in his last eight games?
6.27pmAs well as the game itself, there are quite a few sub-plots within this fixture. One of those is the homecoming of Welsh hero Gareth Bale, formerly the world’s most expensive footballer, who may or may not start for Real Madrid tonight in his home city.© Getty Images
6.24pmJuve, meanwhile, are chasing a trophy they haven’t won for 21 years, having lost four times in the final since. The Bianconeri have swept aside all before them in Italy over the last few years, but can they finally deliver on the continent?
6.21pmLos Blancos are the current Champions League holders, having triumphed at the San Siro against city rivals Atletico Madrid last year. Zinedine Zidane’s charges are hoping to become the first side to defend the trophy since its revamp in 1992, as well as clocking up their 12th European Cup overall.
6.18pmSo, this is it. After months of titanic tussles between the best teams on the continent, we are down to the final two. Tonight, in Cardiff, Italian giants Juventus will face off against Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid for the most illustrious club football trophy in the world.