Alvaro Morata returned to the Bernabeu on Wednesday night to score the decisive goal which sent Juventus to the UEFA Champions League final.
The Bianconeri sealed a 2-1 win over Real Madrid in the semi-final first leg last week, with Carlos Tevez and Morata both on the scoresheet. Despite this Los Blancos, the reigning European champions, were still favourites to proceed to next month’s final, where they would have faced Barcelona in what would have been the first ever El Clasico final in the history of the competition.
However, Juve clearly had other ideas in the Spanish capital, despite the writing seemingly being on the wall when Cristiano Ronaldo gave the hosts a first-half lead from the penalty spot. This would have been enough to send Carlo Ancelotti’s side through to the Berlin final on the away goal rule, but Morata pounced to equalise on the hour mark and the visitors were able to hold on.
As painful as seeing their defence of the trophy vanish would have been, it was doubly so considering the source of their discomfort. Morata joined the Real youth academy in 2008 when he was 16, and was a regular goalscorer for their B team. However, he was never able to command a first team place, making just 37 league outings in four years before leaving for Juventus.
The 22-year-old, who has won full international honours for Spain since moving to Turin, has featured 42 times for the Italian giants this season, and has scored 13 times. As well as now having the chance to get his hands on the biggest club trophy in European football, he has also helped the Bianconeri to another Serie A title success, making his £18million price tag seem a bargain.
Juventus have not won the Champions League since 1996, but the chance to win it for a third time comes 30 years after their first triumph. Despite eliminating the holders they will head into the final as underdogs against a Barcelona side who have been nearing their best form of late. The Camp Nou giants have won the competition four times, the most recent of which was in 2011.
Are you pleased to see Juventus reach the UEFA Champions League final, or would you rather have had Real Madrid progress to create an El Clasico final?