Atlético de Madrid v Juventus – Saturday, Aug 10, 18:00 CET/12:00pm ET – Friends Arena, Stockholm, Sweden
The final game of the 2019 International Champions Cup sees two heavyweights of European football go head-to-head once again. Two sides that are very well known to each other will battle it out in Sweden as their pre-season schedules draw to a close.
Atlético go into their third International Champions Cup fixture in fine form. An unforgettable matchup versus city rivals, Real Madrid, will live long in the memory of everyone who witnessed it.
Brushing aside Real by seven goals to three, Los Rojiblancos had stung their neighbors five times as the teams went into the half time period. At the end of the game, head coach Diego Simeone tried to play down the apparent gulf between his side and the Madridistas:
“We prepared for the game well. Having seen Madrid, we looked for where we could harm them. We tried to find good places when they released the ball.
We were very precise, that in football is important. I do not consider this match to be the reality of a potential gap between each other" Simeone said.
After narrowly missing out to Tottenham on Matchday one, Juventus then needed penalties to secure victory against fellow Serie A side, Inter.
Head coach, Maurizio Sarri will be looking for a level of sharpness and cohesiveness from Turin's Old Lay as they prepare for the start of the Serie A season – which is just two weeks away.
The Bianconeri boss has so far opted to test the system he alluded to in his opening press conference:
“In recent years, I’ve had 4-3-3, but the 4-3-3 at Chelsea was very different to the one at Napoli. We had to accompany Eden Hazard’s characteristics, as he could change the game, but also his presence caused issues in defending that we had to work on.
I played 4-3-1-2 for a lifetime before the 4-3-3, so we’ll see” Sarri said.
The teams last met each other in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 back in the spring - Juventus turning over a two-nil first leg deficit to qualify 3-2 on aggregate at Atlético's expense.
Players to Watch
Atlético de Madrid #7 – João Félix
The 19-year-old tops the list of Atlético's summer transfer activity – arriving from SL Benfica for €123 million ($137.8m). Having impressed already against Real on Matchday two, the ability of the Portuguese star will come as no surprise to Juventus.
His main strength lies in his link up play with those around him, but the teenager is also devastatingly good when it comes to finding the target – 20 goals in 42 appearances last season, across six competitions.
Juventus #7 – Cristiano Ronaldo
At 34-years-old, the winger turned forward has won almost every honor in the game. The five-time Ballon d'Or and five-time UEFA Champions League winner is arguably one of the greatest players ever to kick a ball.
Rested due to muscle fatigue in Juventus' last friendly game, the Portuguese national captain is expected to return to action against Atlético. The Madrid side will be well aware of the danger he brings, most notably his finishing skills – be that on the ground, or in the air.
Saturday's fixture is the first time the clubs will face each other in the International Champions Cup tournament, victory for Atlético could see them pip Manchester United – and with it taking their second runners-up spot. Meanwhile, Juventus could leapfrog their opponents into fifth, but to do this the Italian side would have to win by five clear goals.