Tuesday 22 January 2019

Cagey Zidane keeps fit again Bale waiting

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane. Photo: Reuters
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane. Photo: Reuters

Jason Burt

Gareth Bale has made a timely return to fitness ahead of tonight's match in Turin, scoring twice against Las Palmas last Saturday, but Real Madird manager Zinedine Zidane has given the Welsh wizard no guarantees that he will start, with Spanish midfielder Isco also in excellent form.

"I'm very pleased with his performance. You'll have to wait and see if he plays," Zidane said of Bale.

Zidane insisted that last season's final in Cardiff was irrelevant as he completed preparations to return to the club where he spent five years as a player.

"In the five years that I was at Juventus I learned a lot, not only as a player but also as a person," said Zidane.

"They welcomed me here like a family. I have really good memories of the time that I spent here.

"We are here to play a good game, but the final in Cardiff has nothing to do with this match and we will not think about that. It's a completely different story."

Massimiliano Allegri believes that Juve are ready to go toe to toe with the team he labelled the tournament favourites - and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"We are up against the Champions League favourites - to beat them would be a feather in our cap," said Allegri.

"I have watched the Cardiff final several times. We have improved in terms of handling difficult spells in a game compared with last season.

"Real Madrid have won the European Cup 12 times. They are an extraordinary team, but I think Juventus will be at the same level.

"A special tactic to stop Ronaldo? The defenders must be good but I want to congratulate him for how he changed his style completely in his 30s. It's not easy to do what he did."

Irish Independent

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