UEFA Champions League, Juventus vs Atletico Madrid: What are the stakes involved?
Before any analysis of all possible outcomes is attempted, the stakes involved herein merit higher precedence in the order of consideration.
In simple terms, one team is fighting for its first Champions League trophy in 23 years and the other is fighting for the right to play the final of the Champions League in its own backyard.
As simple as it may seem, the actual picture is far more painstakingly intricate than what one would hope for.
The pain of having the door slam shut in the face after reaching the final step is known only to those who make it to the final step.
In the case of Juve and Atleti, the wounds from 2014, 2016 and 2017 are fresh enough to open up at the slightest hint of a disappointment in the Champions League. Then there is a certain Portuguese who was directly involved in inflicting these wounds on Juve and Atleti.
The footballing God worked in mysterious ways and now the same Portuguese is inevitably burdened with the task of inflicting yet another wound on either of the two teams.
He would break Atleti hearts if Juve make it through to the Quarter Finals. He would break Juve hearts if he fails to do the same.
Cristiano Ronaldo finds himself at the centre stage of a potential Champions League classic.
He joined Juve at a time when the Serie A was no longer good enough to act as a consolation prize in the aftermath of European failures for the Bianconeri. He faces an opponent who has smelled blood in the first leg and is on the lookout for the kill.
He would have been better advised not to take this mammoth responsibility upon his shoulders, but for a man who has made it his lifelong mission to cement his status as the greatest footballer ever, no measures would ever seem farfetched and no distance would ever seem too far.
The match kicks off in the Allianz Stadium on the 12th of March at 9 pm Central European Time.