Didi Hamann: Pogba-less Juventus in better place to down Real Madrid

The Champions League winner believes Gareth Bale shouldn’t start on Saturday and predicts a win for the Old Lady...


Cardiff has been a happy hunting ground for me and when you take into account the atmosphere, the Principality Stadium is the best out there.

It will be a very special occasion in there under the roof and it’s a fitting stage for two giants of the game to battle it out for the richest prize in European football.

Juventus are a better team without Paul Pogba, sometimes when an influential player like him goes it galvanises to the rest of the squad and some of these players have absolutely thrived since his move to Manchester United.

People have questioned whether it was right to shift out Pogba last summer, but the proof is in Juve’s season this campaign. They won Serie A easily enough and the Coppa Italia, so they’re on for a historic treble.

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They’ve now got nearly £90m in the bank for a talented player who’s still yet to prove if he’s top class. It shows that a good team is bigger than any single player!

I honestly can’t remember the last time they were hit on the counter attack, it just doesn’t happen under Massimiliano Allegri. That’s why they’ve been very hard to beat.

Bale in Wales

I’d be very surprised if Gareth Bale starts the Champions League, given how good Isco has been.

There’s been speculation that Ronaldo doesn’t want Bale in the starting line-up. Given the Welshman’s struggles for fitness this season Cristiano may have a point, but it’s one he should be keeping to himself if that’s the case.

It’s not an easy thing for Bale to shine next to a player like Cristiano Ronaldo, even if he’s had his injury problems. So far he’s done okay in the Spanish capital, but can he emulate what Ronaldo has done?

Those boots are gigantic to fill, it’s a huge ask. Gareth is one of the few players out there though that can win a game singlehandedly, so it remains to be seen.

He’d improve any team in the top end of the Premier League, if he was to leave Real in the summer. Manchester United seem to be going down the Antoine Griezmann route, but if you’ve got the money there’s no harm in getting Bale as well.

Bayern Munich might not be a bad shout for him, they’re in need of wide players as Robben and Ribery are getting on. He’s exactly the type of player Bayern require, so they’ll be in the running too.

However, Manchester United shouldn’t go anywhere near James Rodriguez! He always looks overweight and United already have enough flaky players who go missing in tough situations, so I’d steer clear.

Flair to despair

If Real Madrid manage to become the first team to win back-to-back Champions Leagues, then you’d have to consider them one of the great sides. In the past the Spanish kingpins were more flash than anything else, these days they’re more solid with Casemiro anchoring the midfield and Sergio Ramos is a title winning machine at the back.

The clashing styles of Madrid and Juventus makes this is a really exciting final. If you look at the squads you’ve got to admit Real’s is slightly more talented, but I’d always fancy the defensive side over the attacking one.

In American Football they say ‘Offense wins you games, Defence wins you titles’ and in our football it’s pretty similar. I can’t see Real Madrid scoring against Juve!

The Italians are so well drilled, organised and for what people call an ‘old team’, they do counter pretty damn quickly. I’m all over Juventus to win it, I can see them beating Real one or two-nil.

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What do you think?