UEFA Champions League final: Zinedine Zidane faces Gareth Bale or Isco dilemma

Zinedine Zidane has a big decision to make ahead of the Champions League final - in-form Isco or experienced Gareth Bale, who himself knows that his chances of being sidelined for the final match are higher with Isco performing the best.

Written by Natasha Singh | Updated: June 2, 2017 1:12 am
real madrid, isco, gareth bale, bale, champions league final, uefa champions league, real madrid vs juventus, football, sports news, indian express Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale has been sidelined for the past six weeks with a calf injury. (Source: AP)

Defending champions Real Madrid have booked their spot in the Champions League final where they will face Juventus in hope of retaining the title.

Both the Italian and the Spanish sides won their respective leagues for the 33rd time. Real, who are record 11-time winners, will look to set a record by winning a successive Champions League trophy.

Zinedine Zidane’s first full season at the club has been spectacular, winning the team their first La Liga title in five years, after they overtook Barelona by three points. The French manager now has a crucial decision to take, now that Gareth Bale joined the team back at training.

Bale, who was out for the last month due to a calf injury, recovered to fitness this weekend and joined his side at their training session for the final clash. The Welsh footballer has been a crucial element in Real Madrid’s campaign, especially during big games.

But Bale has not been his usual best this season even when he was fit. In constrast, in-form Isco has thrived in Bale’s absence, giving Zidane the headache of who he should play in the Starting XI in the last game of Los Blancos this season.

The 25-year-old Isco has proven in his last eight games where he scored five goals and three assists, that he deserves to play in place of Bale. Even Toni Kroos has said that he enjoys playing the four-man midfield.

“I am not 100 percent,” Bale said in an interview. “I haven’t played for six or seven weeks and I obviously had my operation, which still really hasn’t recovered.

The 27-year-old himself knows that his chances of being sidelined on the bench for the final match are higher with Isco performing the best. “If I’m called upon to start, I will start obviously. But to last 90 minutes. I haven’t played a lot of football this year since my operation, so that would be difficult. And Isco has been playing fantastically well for us, at the end of the season, so whatever the manager decides, I will accept it.”

Experienced Bale or in-form Isco – Zidane has a big decision to make ahead of the Champions League final.

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