Madrid magic or Juventus steel? The Champions League final debate

"I also expect a lot from the trio of Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain". He did add, though; "If I'm called upon to start, I will start, obviously".

Both Juventus and Real Madrid boast an incredible array of gifted stars, both from an offensive and defensive standpoint. "I have the feeling that we are going to play a great game and we are going to win". The Welshman is struggling for match fitness after an ankle injury and admitted this week that he may not play the full 90 minutes. In his first serious managerial job, Zidane has diaplayed fantastic aptitude for tactics and being able to adapt to the needs of the game. Thus Real Madrid's Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, two of the finest attacking midfielders in the world, scramble and graft when not in possession, while a centre-forward like Benzema runs himself in to the ground to create space. "The important thing is willingness and sacrifice, those are the secrets of this year". Nevertheless, up to the semi-finals wards Zidane did not lose a single match. He arrives in the final in Cardiff with 40 goals.

Will he go with the overpowering Gareth Bale in attack or keep the creative Francisco "Isco" Alarcon in midfield?

The irrepressible Portuguese is the only player to have scored more than 100 goals in the competition.

Bale has also proved decisive in the three major finals he has played for Real, scoring in the 2014 King's Cup final against Barcelona, the 2014 Champions League final against Atletico Madrid and providing an assist in the 2016 final against Atletico as well as converting his penalty in the shoot-out win. As well as the commercial, which will also screen during the Women's Champions League final on Thursday, the programme will include further media and grassroots events across the European continent.

He said: "I know where I'd want to celebrate". However, Isco has performed strongly over the last month in Bale's absence. There's no guarantee, moreover, that Bale will even be the first option off the bench with the respective rises of Lucas Vasquez and Marco Asensio, as well as James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata to call on. "I'm even available to stand in the stands this time".

Time to plan an escape strategy?

Where, incidentally, he'll come up against his Brazil teammate and, in some ways, photo-negative, Madrid's left-back Marcelo. It could prompt president Florentino Perez to try and cash in on Bale whilst he still would command a large fee.

Do you think the new bust of Bale looks more like him than this one does of Ronaldo? Here are five memorable games between the two teams in the competition.

Does this mean he has to leave, though?

"It's going to be a hard decision", Zidane said. We must remember, too, that football is fickle at the end of the day. Just as quickly as Bale has become the brunt of criticism, he can emerge as the golden boy again. While it is true, their rivals could always snort and cruelly point out that all of that happened "in black and white" - meaning it was a long time ago, belonging to the age of sepia-tone newsreels. Is time running out at the Bernabeu? Have your say in the comments section below.

  • Zachary Reyes