Ramos ready to play Juventus in final of Champions League


Zinedine Zidane believes Cristiano Ronaldo's inspirational leadership will be the decisive factor when Real Madrid bid for Champions League final history against Juventus on Saturday. In 1978 it was the day they said goodbye to possibly the greatest president in the history of the club, Santiago Bernabéu. Either works! We're nice like that.

Hat tricks against Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid have won matches nearly single-handedly: when Real aren't playing well, Ronaldo has been their saviour, and when they are playing well, he makes them nearly unstoppable.

The Portuguese and Argentine are considered by most to be the two best players in the modern game, and are often portrayed as being fierce rivals as a result.

Massimiliano Allegri's preferred 3-5-2 formation looked extremely wobbly in the early parts of the season, leading to a switch to 4-2-3-1 that saw Juventus win 10 on the bounce from January onwards. Either way, he and Marcelo will bomb up and down the same flank in Cardiff, making for a fascinating battle between two of the most accomplished attacking defenders of their generation.

Will.i.am said: "I try not to let fear govern where I go".

During his playing days, Zizou won the Champions League with Real Madrid in 2002, following a dominant spell at Juventus.

Wales worldwide Bale has declared himself fit for the showdown but he has recently recovered from a calf injury.

"I think if there is a roof, it was obviously built to be used", said sanguine Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who has lost Champions League finals in 2003 and 2015. The more creative Francisco "Isco" Alarcon might retain his place in the lineup instead.

Real Madrid superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, was never in doubt that he would be the first man to reach 100 Champions League goals. "In the long run, anything can happen. I don't know about the best team ever but they have very good offensive players".

"It's not only mentally, of course, they have to be ready physically too. That's what I'm interested in right now — everyone in good shape and at a high level".

Ronaldo, however, is unlikely to find much freedom against Juventus, a team with one of the best defenses in soccer. They constantly took shots at each other through interviews and social media.

Dries Mertens gave Napoli hope in the second leg with a goal in the 24th minute, but Madrid hit back with an equalizer from Sergio Ramos, an own-goal by Mertens and a stoppage-time strike by Alvaro Morata.

A head coach for only 17 months, the former France playmaker can become the first manager to win back-to-back European Cups since AC Milan's Arrigo Sacchi in 1989 and 1990 and the first in the Champions League era.

Juventus is chasing its third title, having not won European soccer's top prize since 1996.

"It would mean a lot for me", said the veteran, who has won 168 caps for Italy.

"We know all about pressure at Real Madrid", Zidane said.



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