Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri says Juventus will not be running scared of Lionel Messi as the Italian champions bid to upset the odds in the Champions League final.
Barcelona are heavy favourites as they chase a second treble in six years of Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League. Allegri’s Italian champion Juventus remain outsiders despite ousting Barca’s fellow Liga heavyweights Real Madrid in the semi-finals.
Messi has scored 10 goals alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in this season’s tournament, but will wind up top scorer on his own if the Argentina playmaker finds the net at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on Saturday night. He is chasing a fourth Champions League success and hopes to add to his astonishing overall haul of 77 goals in 98 matches in the tournament.
It is not being melodramatic to suggest Juventus’ hopes will increase tenfold if they find a way to nullify Messi.
“I hope Messi can be defeated tomorrow night,” said Allegri in a press conference in Berlin on Friday.
“We are here for this very reason. Otherwise we would have gone somewhere else. “Tomorrow we’ll do our best. It’s a one-off, there’s no chance to play it again. We must take the last step.
“The Champions Legaue is also about moments that either go in your favour or against you. Regardless, it’s been an extraordinary year. Allegri’s men are bidding for their own treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League.
“Messi-Neymar-Suarez, the talk is always ‘how do you stop them, how do you stop them,” said Allegri. “We’ll have to play very well, and score, because it’s difficult to see it finishing 0-0.
“Tomorrow night, one of the teams will win the treble, hopefully it’s us. I congratulate [Barcelona Coach] Luis Enrique, it’s not easy, it’s never easy for the big teams, even if it looks that way from the outside.
“The players are decisive, while the coach’s job is to get them in the right mindset and shape to perform well. “We see enthusiasm in Italy; Italians are looking forward to seeing Juve lift the cup.”
Allegri confirmed that Andrea Barzagli will replace the injured Giorgio Chiellini if he is fit with Angelo Ogbonna also ready to play in the final should any mishap befall Barzagli. “Barzagli & Ogbonna are both fit; if Barzagli feels OK, he’ll play, otherwise Ogbonna.”
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