Reaction after Juventus reach Champions League final by drawing at Real Madrid.
Juventus defender Patrice Evra confirmed he will shake Luis Suarez’s hand before the Champions League final with Barcelona despite their troubled past over a racism row.
Suarez was banned for eight matches after being found guilty of racially abusing Evra during their time at Liverpool and Manchester United respectively.
The two then refused to shake hands in one further meeting between the sides, but Evra insists he will put that behind him when they come face-to-face in Berlin on June 6.
“I am proud to be what I am, I am proud about my colour and I will shake his hand, it is no problem, but I will make sure he will feel me on the pitch,” said the Frenchman.
Barca are the favourites to win their fifth European Cup with their star front three of Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar having scored 114 goals between them this season.
However, despite it being Juventus’s first Champions League final in 12 years, Evra believes they have the experience to stop Barca’s progress towards a treble.
Field day time for the football press. A Barca-Juve final means Mr Suarez is reunited with Mr Chiellini & Mr Evra. All eyes on handshakes!
— Ian Stafford (@IanStaffs) May 14, 2015
“People forget Juventus is a team with a lot of players that have already won the Champions League. They played in other finals too, like myself, this is my fifth final.
“I believe in everything, because if I don’t believe we can win against Barcelona, I will ask the manager not to play me.”
Juventus booked their place in the final with a 1-1 draw at Real Madrid on Wednesday to seal a 3-2 aggregate win over the holders.
Twice he scored against Real Madrid over the two legs and twice he refused to celebrate. But Alvaro Morata sparked scenes of joy in Turin on Wednesday night as his second-half strike at the Bernabeu dumped the holders out of the Champions League.
Made surplus to requirements in the Spanish capital last summer, Morata sends Juve through to the Champions League final against Barcelona and continues the remarkable statistic of no team being able to defend the trophy since its inception in 1992.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty was just reward for Madrid’s dominant opening period, but Juventus rallied after the break and eventually held on comfortably, piling yet more pressure on under-fire Los Blancos boss Carlo Ancelotti.
The hosts crafted the first clear chance after just 34 seconds when Marcelo was given space to deliver a cross to the far post, where Gareth Bale was unmarked but could only send his header over the bar.
Karim Benzema’s return from injury immediately added fluidity to Madrid’s attacks, and it was the Frenchman who had the next opportunity, classily controlling before getting his shot badly wrong, slicing it high and wide.
Madrid were gradually taking over, and next Ronaldo came close with a free-kick which skidded off Arturo Vidal and grazed the top of the net with the Italian relieved.
Juve’s attacking threat was only sporadic, but they managed their first effort on goal after 13 minutes when Vidal struck a low shot which Iker Casillas comfortably saved.
Madrid’s pressure was steadily growing, and Gareth Bale forced an excellent save from Gigi Buffon with a long-range piledriver.
Then came the opener, as Ronaldo fed James Rodriguez who went down under Giorgio Chiellini’s clumsy challenge and referee Jonas Eriksson pointed to the spot.
Unfazed by seeing his previous penalty saved against Valencia on Saturday, Ronaldo calmly struck his spot-kick down the middle as Buffon dived to the right.
Los Blancos dominated the remainder of the half and could have doubled their lead when Benzema led a three on two counterattack to find Ronaldo, who crossed when he should have shot.
Sergio Ramos had an acrobatic effort blocked, Benzema headed too close to Buffon from successive corners, and then both Ronaldo and the France striker shot into the side-netting before Juve heard the half-time whistle with relief.
The visitors started much better after the break and fired an early warning shot with Claudio Marchisio’s effort wide, and Madrid had barely got themselves started in the second half when Juve levelled.
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 13, 2015
Casillas punched a cross clear but it was played straight back into the danger zone, where Paul Pogba rose to win a header which dropped to Morata, who controlled on his chest before firing in a low effort which Casillas couldn’t keep out.
Madrid quickly regained the ascendancy and should have also regained the lead when a slick passing move ended with Marcelo crossing low for Bale, who could only stab wide from six yards.
Then James fired a brilliant long-range strike over the top with Buffon well beaten, but Juve served a reminder of their attacking threat as Marchisio raced through to be well denied by Casillas.
Another chance fell Bale’s way but the hapless Welshman could only send his far post header over the bar and after Pogba forced a save from Casillas, Madrid struggled to mount late pressure as their crown slipped away from them.