Following Glasgow’s Hampden Park, London’s Wembley Stadium and Manchester’s Old Trafford, Saturday will represent the 12th time Britain has hosted the final ” more than any other country.
Because while finals involving teams from the same country can be special-Real have faced Atletico Madrid in two of the last three-there’s something wonderful about seeing two juggernauts from two different nations go head-to-head.
So now Zidane has to decide whether a fit-again Bale or Isco starts in Cardiff; on paper it is an easy call to start with Isco and leave Bale as a possible impact sub, but at Real Madrid few things are as simple as they look and Bale is Florentino Perez’s most expensive signing.
“I said when I signed my latest contract that it would be my penultimate and that I would play on until I was 41”, the four-time Ballon d’Or victor said.
“If I’m called upon to start, I will start obviously”. I’ve seen it as a player, I’ve seen it as a coach. Each side is also in similarly strong recent form, having won their last three matches, per Sky Sports, and finished the season as champions of their respective domestic leagues.
“I am supposed to be Cardiff but I am busy with my new role, working hard to ensure the Black Stars return to their glory days”. Even better, the iconic Gianluigi Buffon has kept eight clean-sheets between the posts in the 11 games he has played.
Alves is the second-most decorated footballer of all time in European competitions with nine winners’ medals – one behind former AC Milan great Paolo Maldini on the all-time list. Hungarian great Ferenc Puskas was 39 years and 39 days old when he helped Real Madrid win the European Cup in 1966. The Brazilian has been instrumental to Real’s success this season by serving as the anchor behind Ronaldo, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Isco/Gareth Bale in Zinedine Zidane’s 4-1-4-1/4-3-3.
While no decision has been made to off-load Bale this summer, a deal to bring Chelsea’s Eden Hazard moving to the Bernabeu could change that mindset.
For now, all eyes are on Cardiff, with Zidane looking to become the first manager to lead a team to back-to-back Champions League triumphs.
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“Nobody imaged we would reach the final”, he said.
Two former players, Massimiliano Allegri and Zinedine Zidane will be operating from the sidelines on Saturday, each trying to win one last trophy in what has been a remarkable season for both clubs. It’s my home. Everyone has always been very affectionate towards me and I have always defended the values of this club.
Speaking about the three-time FIFA World Player of the Year, Morientes told Omnisport: “It is not a surprise for me because he is a good manager”. If Juventus is to become only the ninth team in club soccer history to win the treble, they will need the young Argentinian midfield maestro to continue to provide the creative spark in the midfield by taking opponents on one-on-one and carving defenses with his majestic vision and passing abilities.