Just football

Cristiano Ronaldo ‘120% fit’ for Real Madrid v Liverpool, says Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has insisted Cristiano Ronaldo will be “120 per cent” fit for next weekend’s Champions League final against Liverpool.

Ronaldo, 33, has not played since spraining his ankle during the El Clasico draw with Barcelona earlier this month but could feature against Villarreal in La Liga on Saturday.

The ex-Manchester United man could return for Los Blancos’ final La Liga match of the season, against Villarreal, on Saturday, as he tunes up for the final against Jurgen Klopp’s men.

“Cristiano is at 120 per cent,” said Zidane on Friday. “He trained normally all week and he is ready [for Villarreal].

“I don’t think about injuries. It’s good to play [on Saturday] to find rhythm and intensity.

“We have to play well and be ready for the final. Nothing can replace the intensity of a match.”

Gareth Bale, who scored twice in a 6-0 thrashing of Celta Vigo on Saturday and got the equaliser in the 2-2 draw with Barcelona, has been in good form recently and is hoping to further press his claims for a spot in the starting XI in the final.

Dani Carvajal too has been struggling, but Zidane insists both players are now available – both having returned to full training – and expects to have a full squad at his disposal in eight days.

“It would mean we’ve worked very well, that the message got through well,” he said. “I’m happy to be able to play the final, it’s important for me in my career as a coach.

“The most important final to me is this one, not the previous ones. We have to give everything.

“I’m very happy to have everyone healthy. I don’t like to have injuries. I want everyone available so we can work.

“To reach the final with everyone healthy is very positive. It’s the most important part.”

Zidane, 45, said it would be “huge” for his side to win the Champions League for a third consecutive year, which would see him join Carlo Ancelotti and Bob Paisley as the only manager to win three European titles.

Ancelotti won the 2003 and 2007 titles with AC Milan before leading Real Madrid to the 2014 trophy, while Paisley won the European Cup with Liverpool in 1977, 1978 and 1981.

“It would mean a lot of things,” said Zidane. “It would mean we have been doing our job well and that my message has been getting through to the players and the staff.

“It’s great to start my managerial career at this level but for me the most important final of the Champions League is this one, not the last one. We have to give it everything.”

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