MADRID – Juventus deserved to beat Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday night because they played like a team, according to Sky Sports pundit Thierry Henry.
The Serie A champions drew 1-1 with Madrid in their second-leg tie at the Santiago Bernabeu to progress to the final 3-2 on aggregate.
Henry thinks it was his former club’s greater unity and team spirit that enabled them to get the better of the favourites and set up a showdown with Barcelona in June.
“There was more togetherness in the Juventus side,” said Henry.
“It does not matter if you have better players – we all know Madrid has a better squad and players – but sometimes in big games you need that togetherness.
“You can sense with Juve that something special is happening right now.”
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher was in agreement with Henry, saying that the best team won on the night.
“There is no doubt that the best team won tonight, and I say that – team,” he said. “And sometimes that is good for football. That is what you want, the best team, they are together.”
However, Carragher was also critical of Carlo Ancelotti’s side, especially in midfield and up front, where he believes the holders have too many individuals.
“I look at that central midfield for Madrid and there has never been a central midfield,” he said. “You think how much they miss [Xabi] Alonso, [Luka] Modric is missing, even [Angel] Di Maria from the final last year.
“But you look at them and you think of [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Gareth] Bale and the front three that we talk about, and they are all individual players and that is what they have lost to tonight, the better team.”
Fellow pundit Graeme Souness said that Massimiliano Allegri’s side should be given huge credit for the way they defended in the second half against the holders’ star-studded attack.
“Juventus thoroughly deserved it over the two games,” he said. “Give great credit to Juventus as in the second half they believed, got their goal, then retreated.
“And as you would expect Italian teams to do, they defended their 18-yard line brilliantly and were fabulous and threatening on the counter break.”
Souness also believes Barcelona will not be relishing the prospect of having to face Juve in Berlin.
He added: “Barcelona will be looking at this tonight and thinking: ‘We will have our hands full with this lot.’”