Juventus vs. Real Madrid: Top Players and Key Battles That Will Decide the Match

Christopher AtkinsContributor INovember 5, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 23:   Carlos Tevez (C) of Juventus gets past Luka Modric (L) of Real Madrid CF during the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Real Madrid CF and Juventus at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 23, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Juventus play Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday evening with revenge in mind following their 2-1 defeat at the Santiago Bernabeu a fortnight ago.

Los Blancos are in command of Group B and could qualify with a sole point from the encounter in Turin. For Juve, though, only a win will help raise comfort levels ahead of a difficult away trip to Galatasaray.

The Bianconeri can take solace in the fact that they truly tested Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, only to lose thanks to a penalty decision—albeit a correct call.

In the safety of their own familiar surroundings, can the Italians pull off the result they so desperately require?


Top Players

Andrea Pirlo (Juventus)

The hub of the Juventus team, Andrea Pirlo's performance will be key to the side's chances of success against Real Madrid.

Per WhoScored.com, Pirlo makes more passes than any regular Juventus starter per game, and also averages 10 long balls per match as he unleashes his side's attacking options.

The teams that have best dealt with Pirlo, Juventus and, indeed, Italy over the past couple of seasons are those who have closed down the veteran at every opportunity—and that will be the job of Isco on this occasion.

Allow Pirlo to play and Real could be in for a very challenging evening.

Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

There is only one player who can feasibly be selected as Real Madrid's key man, and that is Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo—scorer of seven goals in three games thus far in the competition.

Even when his team is out of sorts, Ronaldo invariably manages to come up with a match-changing contribution, with his combination of pace, power and technique virtually unparalleled in world football.

Remarkably, he has already reached 20 goals for the season across all competitions in just 15 appearances. Worse still for Juventus, his form over the past couple of weeks—five goals in his past two games—is sensational.

Controlling Ronaldo will be important to the Italians' hopes of winning, but it remains to be seen what formation they try on this occasion.


Key Battles

Kwadwo Asamoah vs. Gareth Bale

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 30:  Gareth Bale of Real Madrid CF celebrates after scoring Real's opening goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Sevilla FC at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on October 30, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Gareth Bale has had his doubters since arriving in Madrid but won over many doubters with a brilliant performance against Rayo Vallecano on the weekend in which he provided two assists.

Should Antonio Conte opt for his trusted 3-5-2 setup against Madrid, it is likely that Bale will be in direct competition with powerful Ghanaian Asamoah—who is the side's regular option at left wing-back.

It is an intriguing matchup that will offer encouragement to both players, with Bale no doubt believing that he can exploit the space behind his opponent—while Asamoah will feel he is capable of disarming the Bale threat.

Allow the Welshman space to get in behind the full-back and he will supply chances for his forward colleagues, as he did on the weekend. Asamoah will need to show all the defensive skills he has picked up over the past 18 months to succeed.


Carlos Tevez vs. Sergio Ramos

TURIN, ITALY - OCTOBER 30:  Carlos Tevez (R) of Juventus in action against Sergio Bernardo Almiron of Calcio Catania during the Serie A match between Juventus and Catania Calcio at Juventus Arena on October 30, 2013 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pen
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

It has been four years since Carlos Tevez last scored a Champions League goal, and he has already stated his desire to set that record straight this week, as reported by Marca.

However, to do so, he will likely have to get the better of Spanish star Sergio Ramos who, on his day, has all the attributes required to be one of the world's very best central defenders.

Ramos was excellent in the first leg of the clash, when Juventus came unstuck playing a 4-3-3. With Tevez likely to be moved inside into a central role in a 3-5-2 this week, though, he will be better positioned to make a significant impact.

With six goals in 10 league games since arriving in the summer, his form for the Bianconeri is strong. That European goal drought, though, is a worrying statistic.