KEIR RADNEDGE in CARDIFF: Sergio Ramos, the man who wrote his own page in Champions League legend by rescuing Real Madrid in Lisbon three years ago, believes the Cardiff showdown with Juventus represents “a date with history.”
In 2014 Ramos headed an equaliser in the last minute of stoppage time of the final against Atletico Madrid to secure extra time and launch Real on to an eventual 4-1 triumph. Two years later he led them to a shootout victory over their neighbours.
Now Real Madrid can become the first club to win the modern-era Champions League two years in succession.
As Ramos said at Madrid’s pre-match press conference: “We have a date with history which means we have to forget about our past trophies and think about this as the first trophy to add to our cv. We are very excited about the prospect of being the first club to win two consecutive Champions League trophies.”
He added: “This is a very important game and we have strong rivals. But it’s another opportunity to go out and show who we are – a great team.
“We have been very solid, very consistent throughout the season and every time we have the chance to fight for a trophy, especially a Champions League, we are very motivated.
“We have been enjoying every minute since Zinedine Zidane came to the bench and now we have a historic opportunity. We’ll do our best to take this trophy home again.”
Brazilian leftback Marcelo thought that the two weeks of rest since Madrid secured the Spanish league title for the first time since 2011 had served them well to focus on the European final.
Coach Zidane offered no clues about his line-up, in particular with relation to Gareth Bale or Isco, nor was the pressure of the occasion an issue for him.
Zidane said: “There’s no pressure. Real Madrid know how to feed from this pressure. We’re always living under it. I’ve seen it as a player and as a coach. Everyone always says we’re favourites but in a final there are no favourites.
“If I been told I would would live all of this when I was child I never would have believed it but I’m living it and enjoying what’s happening to all of us.
“We’ve been living something spectacular for some time now and it’s beautiful to play a final again. So let’s see what happens.”