Real Madrid superstar Gareth Bale has warned Liverpool he is “ready” to make his mark in the Champions League final.
The Wales international, 32, produced a man-of-the-match performance with two goals as Los Blancos defeated the Reds 3-1 in the 2018 showpiece in Kyiv. His first was a sublime overhead kick to restore Real Madrid’s lead shortly after the hour mark and his second was a long-range effort which Loris Karius spilled into his own net.
The thought of the Bale-inflicted defeat four years ago makes Liverpool fans shudder to this day – even if they made amends by beating Tottenham in the final the following year – and the former Spurs winger has declared he is primed to inflict more woe on his former Premier League rivals.
Bale took to Twitter almost 24 hours before Saturday night’s kick-off to post a selection of pictures from the Stade de France, the venue for the final, and added the caption: “#UCLFinal ready.” Liverpool fans will be sorely hoping the ex-Southampton prospect does not have the chance to produce another moment of magic in the Paris spectacle.
Bale has been named in Carlo Ancelotti’s squad for the final but it remains to be seen whether he will play a part in the match. He only made seven appearances in all competitions this season, scoring once, and has endured a dramatic fall from grace in recent years.
Bale’s contract expires this summer and he is not expected to extend his nine-year stint at the Santiago Bernabeu, although he remains intent on leading Wales to the 2022 World Cup via the play-offs. The four-time Champions League winner was left out of the matchday squad for Real Madrid’s final La Liga game of the season – a goalless draw with Real Betis – but Ancelotti hinted he could be involved in the final.
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“Bale wanted to say goodbye and play tonight if he was fine. He has one last chance as he will be fine for the final,” the Italian manager said. Elsewhere, Ancelotti is expected to recall David Alaba to the starting XI after the Austrian defender missed the run-in with an abductor problem.
Ancelotti said, per Marca : “Alaba is going to be there to play in the final but it wasn’t necessary to take risks tonight. He’s going to play, 100 per cent. He hasn’t played since April 26 – but in this crucial match not only physicality is taken into account, but also his skill and experience.”
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