The UEFA Champions League final, of course. European powerhouses Juventus and Real Madrid – the holders are looking to become the first team ever to retain the title – are meeting at the National Stadium of Wales in the showpiece event of the European football calendar.
What should I expect?
Grizzled defence versus free-flowing attack, so some would have you believe. That’s a boiled-down version, certainly, but there’s no arguing with the stats – this is the competition’s most miserly back line against its most prolific forward line. However things do pan out, this is an occasion dripping in prestige – two sets of footballing royalty wrestling for one crown.
Who should I watch out for?
Where to start? This is a who’s who of superstars, but none are bigger than Cristiano Ronaldo. The 32-year-old is eyeing a fourth UEFA Champions League title – a third in four seasons – and needs just one goal to draw level with Lionel Messi to top score in the competition for the fifth season in a row. To do so, he’ll have to find his way past Gianluigi Buffon, no less. The Bianconeri’s very own Benjamin Button is looking to lift the trophy for the first time; if he does, aged 39, he’ll surpass Paolo Maldini as the competition’s oldest ever winner.
What time does it all kick-off?
Kick-off is Saturday at 20:45CEST (11:45 Los Angeles, 14:45 New York, 15:45 Sao Paulo, 19:45 in Cardiff/Lagos; Thursday 00:15 New Dehli, 02:45 Manila, 04:45 Sydney).
Is it decided on the night?
It will be. If it’s level after 90 minutes then there will be extra time (15 minutes each way) and then, if it’s still all-square, there will be penalties. Now, UEFA is this summer trialling a new shoot-out format but any spot kicks here will take the traditional route: coin toss to decide who goes first and then take it in turns.
What prize is on offer?
In essence, a trophy hastily completed by a Swiss man in 1967 because he had a strict deadline: his impending marriage and honeymoon to Los Angeles. It is affectionately known as Ol’ Big Ears, a reference to the fact that, unlike the hard-to-handle (i.e. it’s got no handles) UEFA Europa League trophy, it’s no problem carrying it around. The winners will receive it on the pitch and also bag a UEFA Super Cup date with Manchester United on 8 August.