The surprise name Zinedine Zidane is set to include in his starting XI against Liverpool

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Zinedine Zidane is preparing to make more history for Real Madrid in tonight's Champions League final against Liverpool in Kiev.

The Frenchman has guided Los Blancos to the last two titles, becoming the first side to retain the trophy following its reformation from the European Cup.

And having beaten PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich, who all won their domestic titles, their confidence will be sky-high coming into the match against Liverpool, who only mustered fourth in the Premier League.

Real's performance in La Liga is a concern though, finishing 17 points behind Barcelona and a further three behind city rivals Atletico, but they have shown that their experience in the Champions League is vital.

That experience is something which Jurgen Klopp's side are considerably lacking in, having qualified for the knockout stages of the competition once in the last 10 years.

They are the top scorers in the Champions League this season though, and they have shown that they can blitz teams like Manchester City with their frightening trio of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

Liverpool also have five European Cups to their name, so there will be plenty of respect on both sides in one of the most eagerly anticipated finals in recent memory.

As a result, Zinedine Zidane has reportedly decided to spring a tactical surprise to boost his team's chances.


That change is rather surprisingly in attack, given how good the combination of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Isco has been in their path to Kiev.

According to Marca, it is Isco who will be missing out, in place of a rather familiar face.

Real Madrid UEFA Open Media Day

The Spanish outlet believe that Gareth Bale will be brought in from the cold to start, reforming the 'BBC' attack which has barely been used this season, thanks to injuries and the Welshman falling out of favour.

Bale has started only once in the knockout stages, and even then he was dragged off at half-time against Juventus in the second leg with Real 2-0 down.

The former Tottenham Hotspur man has played second fiddle to Isco, even being left on the bench for the full 90 minutes on two occasions in the Champions League.

Real Madrid v APOEL Nikosia - UEFA Champions League

But his recent form has dramatically improved, scoring five times in the last four La Liga games, and he has done enough to earn a starting berth, though Isco will feel hard done by.

Former Barcelona man Gary Lineker believes that Liverpool should be fearful of Bale too, as he has a point to prove, with it looking likely that he would leave the Bernabeu a few times over the last year.

"He has done so well there, winning pretty much everything, and whether he returns to English
football or goes somewhere else we will have to wait and see," he started.


"A lot will depend on what happens in the final and the future of Zinedine Zidane. The rumours are that Madrid are looking to sell him and it will be interesting to see who jumps in for him.

"Bale has a massive amount of talent - if you can get him out on pitch. He generally hasn’t started in Champions League games because he’s been struggling with his fitness.

"But if he’s fully fit then it would be hard to leave him out of the final."

It clearly was hard for Zidane to leave him out if Marca have got it right, and he will be a man on a mission following the disappointment of not being fit enough to start in Cardiff last year.

If Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo are all in top form tonight, it could turn into a massacre if Liverpool aren't careful.

UEFA Champions League
Jurgen Klopp
Zinedine Zidane
Real Madrid
Gareth Bale

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