5 rea­sons why Real will re­peat as champs

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

AHEAD of the start of their 2016-17 Cham­pi­ons League cam­paign against Sport­ing Lis­bon to­day, we take a look at five rea­sons de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Real Madrid can con­quer Europe for the 12th time:

It is “their” com­pe­ti­tion Un­der­stand­ably given Madrid are by a dis­tance the most suc­cess­ful team in the his­tory of the com­pe­ti­tion, no club as­so­ci­ates them­selves more with the his­tory of the Cham­pi­ons League.

A sec­ond ti­tle in three years took Real four clear of AC Mi­lan as the un­doubted kings of Europe, and when it comes to big Euro­pean nights come spring­time, the San­ti­ago Bern­abeu is trans­formed into a caul­dron.

A huge part of their suc­cess comes from the fact when it comes to bal­anc­ing pri­or­i­ties at the business end of the sea­son, un­like some oth­ers, Madrid al­ways side with the Cham­pi­ons League over do­mes­tic du­ties. Ex­pect this sea­son to be no dif­fer­ent.

Set­tled squad Coach Zine­dine Zi­dane and pres­i­dent Florentino Perez in­sisted Real’s squad was “im­pos­si­ble” to im­prove upon as they shunned splash­ing on a Galac­tico sign­ing in the trans­fer mar­ket.

The re­turn of Al­varo Mo­rata from Ju­ven­tus was Real’s only sig­nif­i­cant move, which has left an un­usual air of sta­bil­ity at the Bern­abeu.

Mo­rata’s ar­rival also adds depth in one of the few po­si­tions that needed strength­en­ing as the Span­ish in­ter­na­tional will bat­tle Karim Ben­zema to be Zi­dane’s first-choice cen­tral striker be­tween Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and Gareth Bale. Ron­aldo nears Cham­pi­ons League cen­tury Top scorer in the com­pe­ti­tion for the past four sea­sons and of all-time, Cris­tiano Ron­aldo is Mr Cham­pi­ons League and has an­other sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone in reach.

The Por­tuguese star is just seven goals short of a cen­tury in the Cham­pi­ons League, and hav­ing hit dou­ble fig­ures in Europe for the past five sea­sons and re­cently re­turned to fit­ness fol­low­ing knee lig­a­ment dam­age, an­other bar­rel load of Cham­pi­ons League goals to take him into three fig­ures seems cer­tain. Bale eyes glo­ri­ous home­com­ing As if Madrid needed any more mo­ti­va­tion to de­fend their ti­tle, one of their su­per­stars has an ex­tra spe­cial rea­son to make it back to the fi­nal.

Gareth Bale said he came to Madrid to win the Cham­pi­ons League and has done just that in two of his first three sea­sons. How­ever, the chance to win it in front of a home crowd in Cardiff on June 3 next year is es­pe­cially en­tic­ing.

“It would be very nice. I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced the Su­per Cup in Cardiff be­fore and it would be amaz­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence an ac­tual Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal in Cardiff as well,” said Bale last week.

Chal­lenge of re­peat­ing en­thrals One of the very few feats left for Madrid to con­quer in the Cham­pi­ons League is break­ing the re­mark­able 26-year run since the tro­phy was last re­tained.

Madrid have tried and failed four times since Mi­lan did it in 1990, but the ex­pe­ri­ence gained from six suc­ces­sive semi-fi­nals means they are bet­ter-placed than ever to de­fend the tro­phy. –

Photo: EPA

Real Madrid, who won last year’s Cham­pi­ons League, looks this sea­son to be­come the first team to re­peat as champs in 26 years.

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