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Zinédine Zidane has a difficult task ahead on Saturday evening. The Real Madrid boss must find a way to penetrate the best defence in Europe and become the first team to retain the UEFA Champions League.
Taking on Juventus is not easy feat. Barcelona and Monaco tried and failed and with a solid, experienced back-line, supported by one of football’s greatest ever goalkeepers, and attackers with the quality of Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuaín, the threat to Los Blancos' crown is real.
Playing at Cardiff, the holders offer up their own questions too. Isco’s form recently has been superb, feeling almost like a new signing. Cristiano Ronaldo, criticise him if you will, but the Portuguese superstar feeds on it and always finds a way to score.
Zidane showed patience to dismantle Diego Simeone’s well-organised Atletico Madrid unit, and now he has to do it again at the Millennium Stadium.
DO YOU AGREE? PICK AND SHARE YOUR REAL TEAM FOR THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL
Real’s formation is pretty much set for Saturday’s final, with little room to wiggle in terms of the personnel.
With the final taking place in Wales, most of the pre-game speculation has surrounded Gareth Bale, the Cardiff boy come home, but the former Spurs winger has declared himself as a big doubt.
“I am not 100 per cent: I haven’t played for six or seven weeks: I obviously had my operation which still really hasn’t recovered,” Bale said via The Guardian.
“If I’m called upon to start, I will start obviously. But to last 90 minutes: I haven’t played a lot of football this year since my operation, so that would be difficult. Isco has been playing fantastically well for us, at the end of the season, so whatever the manager decides I will [accept it].”
Isco will likely start behind Ronaldo and Karim Benzema. The form of the little Spaniard has been key to Real’s success, it would be a surprise if Zidane deviated from that.
Raphael Varane is in competition with Nacho to start beside Sergio Ramos in defence, but the Frenchman should get the nod.
Do you agree with the XI our algorithm has predicted? Is this the team that will help Zidane beat Juventus?
What would your team be for Saturday’s Champions League final?