Madrid hold no psychological edge over Juve from last season’s final – Zidane
The Spanish giants retained their Champions League title with 4-1 victory over the Italian outfit in Cardiff.
Zinedine Zidane insists Real Madrid do not hold any psychological edge following their victory over Juventus in last season’s Champions League final.
The two European heavyweights face off in the quarter-finals of this year’s competition with the first leg to be held in Turin on Tuesday evening.
It will be their first meeting since Real clinched a 4-1 win over Juve in Cardiff last June to clinch back-to-back European Cups.
While the personnel at both sides remains largely the same, Zidane pointed to Real’s domestic struggles in this campaign as evidence to why they cannot take the Italian champions lightly.
He said at his pre-match press conference in quotes on Real’s official website: “This game has nothing to do with what happened 10 months ago. It’s another tie, another match and stage and we have to prepare things well.
“The game is completely different to the Cardiff final. We are not very different, because we are more or less the same players, but since then our season has not been as good as we expected.”
Real lie 13 points off the pace in LaLiga although they are hitting their straps at the right time with 10 wins from their last 11 matches in all competitions.
Talisman Cristiano Ronaldo will return to the starting XI after being rested for Saturday’s 3-0 victory at Las Palmas, where Gareth Bale scored twice.
Head coach Zidane, who as a player moved to Real from Juventus in 2001 for a world record fee, admitted he faces a selection conundrum with only defender Nacho unavailable.
He said: “It’s a headache for me to make the team, but it’s good for everyone.
“Here there are no titular players. I have 24 very good players and I am going to use them all. There are some who play more at some point, but they are all important.”
Juventus moved four points clear at the top of Serie A after overcoming AC Milan at the weekend.
🎙 @chiellini: "We're not out for revenge against @realmadriden. We also have positive memories against the top @ChampionsLeague teams. If you want to go all the way in this competition, you have to come up against opposition of this calibre."#JuveRM #UCL pic.twitter.com/peejEjc4tw— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) April 2, 2018
Defender Giorgio Chiellini said at a press conference in quotes on his club’s official website: “It was a crucial match for the league but we now face a completely different test. The atmosphere will be electric.
“We are not out for revenge against Real Madrid. We also have positive memories against the top Champions League teams. If you want to go all the way in this competition, you have to come up against opposition of this calibre.”
Miralem Pjanic and Medhi Benatia are both suspended for the first leg, with manager Massimiliano Allegri still weighing up his options for their replacements.
Claudio Marchisio and Rodrigo Bentancur are in contention to replace Pjanic in midfield while Andrea Barzagli or Daniele Rugani will come into the backline in place of Benatia.
🎙 @OfficialAllegri: "Tomorrow we want to build an advantage to then take to Madrid. Therefore, to score and not concede would be the ideal scenario. We need to play like we did in the first half in Cardiff, but to maintain that level throughout the tie."#JuveRM #TOGETHER #UCL pic.twitter.com/KmGpXJZojZ— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) April 2, 2018
Allegri added: “Tomorrow we want to build an advantage to then take to Madrid. Therefore, to score and not concede would be the ideal scenario.
“We need to play like we did in the first half in Cardiff (where at half-time the score was 1-1), but to maintain that level throughout the tie.”