CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL: REAL MADRID

Real Madrid Training Session and Press Conference

Cristiano Ronaldo (L) and Gareth Bale (R) listen to Zinedine Zidane manager of Real Madrid.

 

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL: REAL MADRID

Mighty La Liga giant club Real Madrid face Liverpool Fc in 2018 Champions League Final


The road to Kiev is set for thousands of avid Liverpool and Real Madrid fans who are attending Saturday's Champions League Final in Ukraine. Ahead of the battle to be named "Kings of Europe", Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane talked with the press today at Real Madrid City at Open Media Day. Zidane spoke candidly about his side’s upcoming Champions League final with Liverpool in Kiev. Top, last minute, 150% guaranteed football tickets for the Champions League Final between Real Madrid and Liverpool are still for sale securely online from LiveFootballTickets.com!

 

May 26 UEFA Champions League Final 2018: Real Madrid v Liverpool Tickets Olimpiysky Stadium - Kiev, Ukraine


“I don't know how much our rivals want this, but what I can assure you of is the desire that this club has, it never goes away. No one can say we don't have that same hunger. We're Real Madrid and that is what we're about. We always strive for more and we will give it our all,” said Whites coach Zidane. “Our experience will not give us any edge at all. It's a football match and we have to show that we want to win it.”


Zidane was asked if his men want the Champions League trophy as much as Liverpool do.

 

“Real Madrid always look to win, but you can't always count on it. The important thing for us is to show our drive and ensure we don't slip up. You need setbacks in life if you want to improve. We are ready for the game. How can anyone think we have less hunger than our rivals? That is not true. They are going to throw everything at us and we know that. They had a great season and things can get tricky at any time. There are no surprises and both teams know each other really well. They are a good team, they made it to the final and they deserve to be here just like us. We must prepare for the game, look at our opponent’s flaws and try to hurt them. It is one match and we are both playing away from home. We are ready and experience will not give us any edge at all. It's a football match and we have to show that we want to win it. It's a final. We both want to win the trophy. Winning last year is irrelevant and so is the fact they have not reached the final for 11 years. We want to see a great football match and we are going to give it everything. It is always like that.”

Real Madrid UEFA Open Media Day

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane

“It is brilliant just to get to the final itself because it is never easy. Winning two Champions League finals was spectacular, we had to suffer. In the knockout stages, you have to play against the best in Europe and that has a certain important value, especially if you cast your memory back over the tough season we have had”, added Zidane. “We are in the final and we have four days to prepare for it. The hardest part is getting into the final. It has been complicated this year and winning away from home never means the tie is dead. This time we will fight to the death”.


Zidane talked about his experience as a manager and former footballer.


"I know how things work in the dressing room and sometimes the magic doesn’t happen if they do not get along. Perhaps you can still win trophies, but to win regularly you need a good, united dressing room. My players get along well. They work very well together and just that talent alone is not enough. Without hard work, you cannot win. They have that raw talent and also the work ethic. It is not simply that it is the third final in a row. I have a group of incredible players. When I was a player I did not what being on the bench was like, but it must be hard," said Zidane. “I spent 17 or 18 years as a player, worked with many coaches and some gifted players with the ego to match. I know very well how players think and that is important for a coach, but that's not the only thing. That will not win you games, you need grit and a philosophy."

 

"Tactically I'm not the best coach, the press say it themselves, but I have the drive and passion and that means a lot. It was much easier for me as a player,” continued Zidane. “You all know what I do well and badly. I am so passionate about football. Every now and then things give me a headache but that is the life of a coach. The people on the bench are also very important. The players that do not start cannot think they will not feature at all because from the bench my players can make a real difference and be the game changer. I want everyone switched on. That's why I am not saying now who plays because that can damage a footballer."

 

"I’ve been here for almost three years. There has not been a specific moment that stands out. If I have to highlight something it is the day to day work. If you look at how we work, despite the difficulties we’ve come across, we deliver, we have the enthusiasm needed and the desire to always give it our best. I always remain positive. My parents taught me that. If you think you're going to fail then you most likely will. You must always stay positive”.

Juventus VS. Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One

Zidane was asked about the fitness of “top dog” Cristiano Ronaldo, and about CR7’s relationship with Benzema.


“A player can go through some hard times, but when he does not score he does not get wound up. He knows that the next game he could maybe score two or three goals. That is what happened this year. That's what makes him the best. There are players that do not thrive under pressure but some do thrive. He is one of those that do. The more you criticize him, the more you should beware. I am a quiet person and in the end, it is better to have Cristiano Ronaldo by your side because he shows year in year out that he is top dog. He will be vital because he is the best there is”.

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid - La Liga

Cristiano Ronaldo who won his fifth Ballon d'Or in 2017 said, “My motivation is still intact, I strive to get better every day.”

“I don't know what it is exactly, but I know these kinds of things don't happen all the time. You can get great players who do not link up well, but they do. When a group works hard and connects well it is a great thing. All of the work we do throughout the week is what fosters such a strong link,” said Zidane about the Cristiano Ronaldo-Benzema link.

Real Madrid v Sevilla - La Liga

Superstar striker Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid UEFA Open Media Day

Cristiano Ronaldo exercises with Real Madrid teammates under the guidance of their head coach Zinedine Zidane during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at Valdebebas training ground on May 22, 2018 in Madrid, Spain.

Zidane was also asked about the fitness of Welshman Gareth Bale and his line-up.

“He is doing well, he scored plenty of goals and has found real continuity, especially in terms of regular training. He did well in the run-in, scoring goals and performing well,” said Zidane about Bale. "I'm not going to tell you. You’ll see soon enough. They can’t all play, some of my players are set and some are not going to play at all. That's the hardest thing: to reach the final and know that you're not going to get any game time. "

Ahead of the Champions League Final clash with Liverpool, Zidane talked about his respect for Liverpool boss Jergen Klopp.

“He is a great coach, he showed that at Dortmund and he continues to impress with Liverpool, which is paramount. I have loads of respect for him, he is an expert coach”.

   

BALE HOPES TO BE FIT FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

Real Madrid superstar striker Gareth Bale

GARETH BALE HOPES TO BE FIT FOR 2017 CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL IN WALES

2017 Champions League Final: Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale update

Twenty-seven-year-old Gareth Bale has not played for Real Madrid since tearing a calf muscle against FC Barcelona on 23 April. However, Wales forward Bale has resumed training at Real Madrid but has not trained with his team-mates. Real Madrid face mighty Italian Serie A Champions Juventus in the 2017 Champions League Final on 3 June in Bale's home city of Cardiff, Wales. Real beat city rivals Atletico Madrid on aggregate to reach the 2017 Champions League final for a second successive season.Bale was not involved when Real traveled to Celta Viga on Wednesday when Real Madrid came away with a 4-1 win, replacing FC Barcelona at the top of the Spanish La Liga Table.

Bale, 27, came off with a calf injury after 39 minutes in Real's 3-2 El Clasico defeat by Barcelona in April. Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is looking forward to Bale’s return to form and said his side are a better when injured forward Gareth Bale plays.

"It's not the time to talk about the Champions League final," said Zinedine Zidane. "He's much better and has already been out training. He's recovering and there's time for him to be ready for the final. I hope he's ready before and I hope he can be with us more than anything. We're a better team when he plays."

It is the second injury Bale has sustained this season after he was sidelined for four months after the superstar Welshman hurt his ankle in Real Madrid’s 2-1 Champions League win at Sporting Lisbon in November.

Swansea City boss Paul Clement says Real Madrid will be desperate for Bale to be fit for the final. Clement was Carlo Ancelotti's assistant when Real Madrid won the Champions League in 2014, with Bale scoring the decisive second goal in a 4-1 final win over city rivals Atletico Madrid.

"I know he's fighting to be fit for that and I hope he is," said Clement. It would be great for him to come back, he's one of their best players.He's done fantastically well over the last couple of years. He's won it twice already, It would be an amazing achievement to be at a club for four years and win three Champions Leagues. That would be outstanding.It's great for Wales. You've got two great teams and a great event coming to this country."

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Real Madrid superstar striker Gareth Bale

2016 BALLON D’OR 30 MAN SHORTLIST

Neymar and Lionel Messi, Barcelona

2016 BALLON D’OR 30 MAN SHORTLIST

2016 Ballon d’Or 30 Man Shortlist

The winner will be revealed by France Football on December 13, 2016.

The 30 Ballon d'Or nominees are as follows:

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli/Juventus), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain/Manchester United), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Neymar (Barcelona), Dimitri Payet (West Ham), Pepe (Real Madrid), Paul Pogba (Juventus/Manchester United), Rui Patricio (Sporting), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich)

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Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar, Barcelona

Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

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Gareth Bale to Transfer to Real Madrid For Record £86m

Gareth Bale Summer 2013 Transfer 3

Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur

Gareth Bale to Transfer to Real Madrid For Record £86m

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Bale did not report to Tottenham's training ground on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Spurs manager Villas-Boas made it clear that he would like to see Bale fined. AVB revealed that Bale had said his goodbyes to his team-mates ahead of his  move.

AVB has deals in place for the Steaua Bucharest centre-back Vlad Chiriches and the Roma forward Erik Lamela. Chiriches will cost £8m and Lamela around £26m, which would break the club's transfer record for the third time this summer. Tottenham have also made an €8m (£6.9m) bid for the Ajax attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen.

"At the moment the two clubs are speaking – Tottenham and Real Madrid – to outline the final decisions or statements of contracts and I am not sure how much time it will take," Villas-Boas said. "It could happen very, very soon. It might not happen so soon so I suppose it could go to the last days [of the window]. Or it could happen in the next two days.

"What's happening is a dream move for him [Bale] so I think in the end, this could have happened in a different way. But Tottenham will be in the end … there will be a three-way agreement for the player to go and Tottenham will accept most likely the biggest transfer in world football. In the end, if Tottenham accept it and everything goes all right, it will be end of story.

"In the end, this is an agreement between everybody. I'm not going to speak from his point of view. He goes to Real Madrid, the biggest club in world football, for the record transfer in world football. We wish him well."

"I gave the player the weekend off," Villas-Boas said. "Monday was then a day off for the squad. He is involved in a big transfer move to Real Madrid. In the end, if it happens, we wish him all the best, what he left here is great memories … and the fact that he hasn't turned up … I don't think it's the correct behaviour. But in the end, it's a position of pressure and a statement from the player or whatever that means. It's a position they chose to take. It's up to the club now to decide if it's a fineable offence."

"I am a Spurs professional, not a Spurs fan, so you may have to have ask a Spurs fan what are their opinions about the situation," said Villas-Boas, who was also asked whether Bale owed it to his team-mates and manager to say goodbye. "It's very difficult. In the end, you know, difficult. I don't know. It's up to Gareth. He has a good relationship with everybody and he has saluted the players the other day, myself included. "Is he on strike? No, I don't think he's on strike. Will he be in tomorrow? I don't know. I'm not really in control of the situation. I've left it up to the club to decide what they want to do. Until the transfer happens, the player is a Tottenham player. If there are orders for him to be here and he is not, I can only leave it to club officials to deal with it. It's up to the club to decide whether or not it's a breach of club rules. I've given my opinion on it. It's up to them to decide whether they act on it or not."

PFA Player of the Year Award Shortlist

 

Luis Suarez 2013 2

Luis Suarez, FC Liverpool

PFA Player of the Year Award Shortlist

PFA Player of the Year Award Shortlist - Men

Gareth Bale, Michael Carrick, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Luis Suárez and Robin van Persie

PFA Young Player of the Year Award Shortlist

Gareth Bale, Christian Benteke, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere

PFA Women's Player of the Year Award Shortlist

Gemma Davison, Toni Duggan, Jessica Fishlock, Kim Little, Jordan Nobbs, Jodie Taylor

 Suarez has been honored by the PFA to selection on the Player of the Year Award shortlist through acknowledgement by his peers

There are some eyebrows raised by the selection of Suarez - not due to his goal scoring skills, but because of his conduct on the pitch in the past.

Suárez has been one of the best players in the Premier League this season. However, previously his reputation was damaged by an eight-match ban he received for racially abusing Patrice Evra at Anfield last season. And his handball denied Ghana an appearance in the 2010 World Cup semi-finals. In the past Suarez has been accused of diving.

If Suárez wins the award on April 28, it may put the PFA in an uncomfortable position given his background.

Suárez's rivals for the award are Gareth Bale, who has also been nominated in the Young Player category, Robin van Persie, who won it last season before leaving Arsenal for Manchester United, Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), and Juan Mata (Chelsea).

Surprisingly there are no defenders or goalkeepers on the list;  no nominations from holders Manchester City; and star Swansea forward Michu is missing from the list. Welbeck, Wilshere and Carrick are the only English players out of the 12 men nominated. For the first time, there will be a Women's Player of the Year prize too, with Scotland's Kim Little among those nominated.

PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, yesterday defended the inclusion of Luis Suárez on the six-man shortlist. The footballers are shortlisted on the basis of votes cast by their fellow professionals.

Taylor thinks the Uruguayan's match performances, including 29 goals for Liverpool this campaign, make him worthy of inclusion.

"Sometimes controversy travels with players," said Taylor. "Sometimes it is in their very nature. Sometimes it is that very intensity that causes a problem also makes sure they win.

"Luis Suárez is helping to restore Liverpool. It is a credit to them that he seems comfortable there and no one could deny he is one of the finest players in the world."

"It is very difficult at times," said Taylor. "Players are expected to be top role models and set the finest example. That goes with the trade these days.

"I don't underestimate the need for them to do all they can to be seen as a good example. But they are also human beings. It is not always possible to put old heads on relatively young shoulders.

"This is a footballing award and Suárez's footballing ability shines through. It would be naive to think controversy won't continue to travel with him. But I think his football has maintained his place."

Suárez's manager at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, thinks Suarez deserves the award.

"It is great for Luis and a mark of the team. I'm sure he will be the first to recognize the great support he has from the players around him. He has been absolutely outstanding this season. You can only judge these things on football and I am sure he is one of the favorites to win it."

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