Football

Ronaldo lives for Champions League final stage: Zidane

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL
REAL MADRID LIVERPOOL

Cristiano Ronaldo is fit and ready to shine again in a Champions League final, believes Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane as the Spanish giants go for a third straight European Cup against Liverpool on Sunday morning (Singapore time).

Ronaldo can become the first player to win five Champions League titles should Real win in Kiev.

He is currently on four, along with Andres Iniesta, who won all his European titles with Barcelona and has recently joined J-League's Vissel Kobe, and Clarence Seedorf, who won with Ajax Amsterdam, Real Madrid and AC Milan (twice).  

The Portuguese became just the second player after legendary Real forward Alfredo di Stefano to score in three different finals by netting twice in a 4-1 rout of Juventus last season to deliver Real's 12th European crown.

And he shrugged off fears over an ankle injury picked up in a thrilling 2-2 draw with Barcelona earlier this month by scoring on his return against Villarreal as Real wrapped up a disappointing domestic season in La Liga last weekend.

“He’s fine. If he is just 140 per cent it’s no problem,” said Zidane when asked if Ronaldo is 150 per cent ready.

“We’ll have our final training session today and it is the last game of the season. You have to know something, he lives for games like this. We will see that tomorrow.”

The contrast in experience between the sides couldn’t be greater as Liverpool return to the final after an 11-year wait with no player in their squad who has previously played in a Champions League final.

However, Zidane rejected suggestions his side are the overwhelming favourites to become the first team to win three in a row for 42 years.

“People can say what they like, but we are not favourites, nor are Liverpool,” added Zidane.

“As always in a final it is 50-50. We need to play very well to win the game and inside the dressing room we know we are not favourites.” – AFP

Zinedine Zidanecristiano ronaldoREAL MADRID