Gianluigi Buffon has named Atletico Madrid the one side Juventus are hoping to avoid when the Champions League semi-final draw takes place on Friday.
Juventus have been made bookies’ favourites to lift the European Cup for the first time since 1996, despite holders Real Madrid still being in the competition after a thrilling Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired 6-3 aggregate win over Bayern Munich.
The Italian champions’ defence is arguably the strongest remaining in the competition after shutting out the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar for 180 minutes.
Barcelona 0 Juventus 0 player ratings
Barcelona 0 Juventus 0 player ratings
1/22 Marc-Andre Ter Stegen – 6 out of 10
Up to the task on the few occasions Juventus called him into action, but on the whole had little to contend with.
2/22 Sergi Roberto – 6 out of 10
Attacked with purpose down Barcelona’s right but could not repeat his heroics of the last round.
3/22 Gerard Pique – 6 out of 10
Did well to deny Cuadrado in the first quarter of an hour, but will have hoped to have made a more telling contribution at the other end.
4/22 Samuel Umtiti – 6 out of 10
Another Barca defender who largely coped with what he was tasked to do, but his side’s problems lay up front.
5/22 Jordi Alba – 5 out of 10
Should have connected and scored after Messi’s beautiful lofted pass early on.
6/22 Ivan Rakitic – 5 out of 10
An underwhelming display, with no notable moments of invention on a night when Barca needed his vision and creativity.
7/22 Sergio Busquets – 6 out of 10
Did the simple stuff in the centre of the park, as you might expect, but it would take more than that to break down the Juventus defence.
8/22 Andres Iniesta – 6 out of 10
Showed the most of any Barca midfielder, but that’s not saying much. A devilish first half cross was one of the few to get the better of Chiellini.
9/22 Lionel Messi – 6 out of 10
A few neat touches, but we’ve come to expect so much more. Unusually wasteful in front of goal, the best player in the world had a night to forget.
10/22 Luis Suarez – 5 out of 10
Uncharacteristically quiet. Chiellini successfully shackled his old foe.
11/22 Neymar – 8 out of 10
Barcelona’s best performer, the player most likely to make things happen, but appeared to let his frustration with the officials get the better of him at times.
12/22 Gianluigi Buffon – 6 out of 10
Lucky not to be punished by Messi when he failed to collect a corner. Otherwise, was his usual dependable self.
13/22 Dani Alves – 7 out of 10
His defensive capabilities were doubted in his final days at the Nou Camp, but showed he can still be relied upon here.
14/22 Leonardo Bonucci – 9 out of 10
Chiellini’s equal. Put himself between almost every Barcelona effort and his goal.
15/22 Giorgio Chiellini – 9 out of 10
There is perhaps no other current defender you would want in your side when protecting a three goal lead at the Nou Camp. Predictably excellent.
16/22 Alex Sandro – 6 out of 10
Weakest member of Juventus’ stubborn backline, but still a creditable display. Owes Khedira after the midfielder bailed him out of a failed attempt to nutmeg Suarez.
17/22 Sami Khedira – 7 out of 10
Good defensively, but made the wrong decision while in possession on several occasions when his team were countering.
18/22 Miralem Pjanic – 9 out of 10
Hardly put a foot wrong throughout. Known for his creativity, but put a shift in when his side needed him here.
19/22 Juan Cuadrado – 7 out of 10
Full of running and energy, posed a constant threat down Juventus’ right, but his team-mates failed to make enough use of him.
20/22 Paulo Dybala – 6 out of 10
Did not sparkle like in the first leg but did not have to. Contributed to his side’s dogged rearguard effort.
21/22 Mario Mandzukic – 6 out of 10
Has adapted well to his new left-midfield role, chipping in defensively when required.
22/22 Gonzalo Higuain – 6 out of 10
Had the chance to steal an unlikely lead for the visitors on the half volley early on but fired high.
Atletico have one of the strongest defences in Europe themselves and, despite the firepower possessed by both Monaco and Real, they are also the only team remaining in the Champions League not distracted by a domestic title battle.
“Maybe it’s better to meet Monaco or Real, who will spend significant energy in the fight for the league,” the 39-year-old told Mediaset Premium.
“They would rotate less, compared to Atletico, who have a more defined position [in the table] and can manage themselves.”
Buffon has never won the Champions League but has been a losing finalist twice, and insisted the belief is there after shutting out Barcelona’s attack – something which came as a surprise to him.
“Aside from the result, the belief and character of our approach was excellent and it’s a good confidence booster to qualify comfortably against what remains probably the best team in the world,” Buffon added.
“I did think we had a good chance of qualification after the 3-0 first leg result, but I honestly didn’t believe we would come to Camp Nou and keep a clean sheet.”Reuse content