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Fit-again Bale creates Champions League final dilemma

03 June 2017

Gareth Bale held the title of the world's most expensive player following his 101 million euro (then $136 million) move from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013, until that fee was surpassed by Paul Pogba past year.

"We need to use this opportunity to make sure that the dream becomes a reality and to make football history".

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"I have always maintained that, in football, making the final means nothing if you don't win it", Buffon said.

"We've lost a number of finals".

"I'm not going to tell you who will play".

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Gianluigi Buffon accepted with good grace that at times his long and illustrious career was being talked about in the past tense, 22 years a professional footballer and all the trophies a man could ask for bar the one that is at stake in Cardiff on Saturday night. "It is very nice to be playing another final and we are ready for it".

Real coach Zinedine Zidane, once a Champions League runner-up with Juve, contriving to break the hearts of those who once idolised him, will have to take a call whether Bale or Isco would play but the latter looks to be ahead as Bale is yet to fully recover from the ankle ligament injury he incurred in November.

"I have the feeling that we are going to play a great game and we are going to win", he also said. In the end anything can happen.

"The important thing is to give everything..." On the other hand, Madrid just managed to conquer La Liga and will be without any kind of pressure in this game considering that they are defending the title they raised last season.

The former Ballon d'Or victor was asked by a reporter, tongue in cheek, who would be the star if he and reigning best player in the world Ronaldo were both in the same team.

"Cristiano Ronaldo", Zidane replied.

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It had been a lackluster season by Ronaldo's standards, and his slow start kept him from having a chance of reaching 50 goals for the first time since 2009-10, his debut season with Madrid. It is very hard. "So if Juve scores before, then it's gonna be tough". Including his earlier years at Cannes and Bordeaux he totalled 95 goals in 506 club appearances and chipped in an impressive 31 in 108 games for France - a record many worldwide strikers would be proud of.

"We are very pleased, the team is a unit and wants to win tomorrow".

"Juventus is not just defence".

"Especially now, because Juventus... they always had very good teams but now..." I expect an open game on both sides.

Los Blancos vice-captain Marcelo also spoke to the press, and played down comments from Juve right-back Dani Alves, who claimed at his press conference earlier that Madrid's Pedrag Mijatovic had been offside when scoring the winning goal in the 1998 Champions League final against Zidane's Juve. "He was not there, but is free to say what he thinks".

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