Alves gives Old Lady new drive
Juventus' reborn old guard ready to end Champions League hurt
Cristiano Ronaldo is set to face the biggest challenge of his season, if not career.
Do not expect a show-boating spectacle in next month's Champions League final in Cardiff.
Real Madrid's talisman continues to see himself as a man capable of answering for most scenarios posed by the defensive set-ups of Europe's great and good.
Except one - he has never faced this Juventus side.
The Old Lady continues to believe in the impossible after reaching the final of Europe's elite club competition for a second time in three seasons yesterday morning (Singapore time) after a 2-1 second-leg victory over Monaco gave them a 4-1 aggregate win.
Monaco may have fancied their chances as the continental game's swaggering new princes.
Youth and verve both remained very much in their favour despite a previous two-goal deficit.
Juve, however, have become both wiser and more determined for their bruising past experiences.
Chastening memories of their last Champions League showpiece two years ago will now serve as their potential springboard at the Millennium Stadium next month.
Ripping up the remnants of a golden generation would have been an easy task for Massimiliano Allegri on the back of that 2015 defeat by Barcelona in Berlin.
I don't score very often, so I'm happy, but in a way I prefer the assist to a goal, so everyone goes home happy.Juventus defender Dani Alves
Instead, Juve's old guard has become reborn with the veteran goalkeeper at its vanguard.
Gianluigi Buffon could have been forgiven for allowing a career which had encompassed a World Cup triumph and a throng of Serie A titles to fade into the shadows following his team's near-total decimation by Barca's MSN trident in the 2015 final.
Kylian Mbappe's consolation for Monaco yesterday morning was the first goal that the Italy international had conceded in over 11 hours of Champions League football.
TURNING BACK THE CLOCK
Those in front of the 39-year-old have similarly reversed the sands of time.
Andrea Barzagli, 36, remains ever-present in a team which have become stronger for their increased presence of seniority, not least Dani Alves - arguably the greatest free transfer of the campaign.
It would have been easy for the 34-year-old Brazilian to rest on his laurels in the wake of the 2015 final; finishing on the winning side as regularly as he has tends to cloud the mind.
Dani Alves' record of 18 goals in the Champions League since the 2012/13 season has dismissed any notion that he is losing his
Success appeared to have altered Luis Enrique's mindset, too.
How the Barca coach must have rued allowing the fullback to walk into this Juve side completely gratis - it proved the difference between a quarter-final exit and a more glittering finale to his Nou Camp tenure.
Alves' record of 18 goals in the Champions League since the 2012/13 season has comfortably dismissed any notion that he is in danger of slowing down or losing his competitive edge.
Having played a part in both goals in Juve's 2-0 win in the first leg a week ago, he again created the first goal and then scored the second with a thumping drive yesterday morning.
He will relish the prospect of duelling again with a familiar foe should Real secure their likely passage to the Welsh capital.
History may stand on Ronaldo's side against Juve, with five goals in four previous meetings, but they are far different now than they were back then.
Allegri has also drawn on personal experiences in his side's rejuvenation.
As AC Milan's incoming coach in 2010, he saw the power of a team far past their sell-by date inspired to a remarkable final tilt.
Inter may have fallen flat in that summer after Jose Mourinho masterminded them to victory over Bayern Munich but his former cross-city rivals' ability to draw on a near superhuman strength now serves as a perfect motivation for Juventus' golden oldies.
True to Allegri's assessment, they will have to pedal harder as that finish line appears in sight.