Is the real deal af­ter hon­ing skills with his sons

The Herald - Herald Sport - - CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL -

younger. So I was al­ways train­ing with ei­ther one or the other.

“Enzo plays a bit like his dad ba­si­cally and Luca is a goal­keeper,” added the 20-year-old, who rep­re­sented Real Madrid in the Euro Youth League, ef­fec­tively the Cham­pi­ons League’s baby brother. “They are both still at Madrid but I thought Luca in par­tic­u­lar was a very tal­ented boy. He was re­ally great with his feet, he could have been an­other No.10 if he wanted, but he chose to play goal­keeper in­stead. He is bril­liant at it.”

Harper, who is fit again and rar­ing to go af­ter an in­jury-rav­aged first year at pro­mo­tion-chas­ing Brighton, ad­mits be­ing se­ri­ously starstruck the first few times their fa­ther was per­suaded to help out at train­ing. “I didn’t re­ally know him [Zine­dine Zi­dane] for the first cou­ple of years – I was too young – but when I was 16 or 17, he would come in and do some train­ing ses­sions with us, help­ing us do fin­ish­ing and things like that. I think the fam­ily lived re­ally close by, be­cause he would just turn up in the older broth­ers’ car. Any­time you get with a guy like that, you just need to soak up,” added Harper. “Fun­nily enough, when I was young I al­ways had his T-shirt, I loved how he played, he was a real idol of mine. And I am not sur­prised to see him rise to head coach, I think ev­ery­one in Madrid thought that was go­ing to hap­pen at some stage. It has hap­pened all of a sud­den but I think he is the right man for the job. He knows the club, he has the right phi­los­o­phy, and is a great ex-foot­baller so he is the per­fect man. Ev­ery­one re­spects him so much, he al­ways seems to say the right thing.”

Harper was still a Real player back in 2014 when these same two teams con­tested a Cham­pi­ons League final in Lis­bon which went all the way to ex­tra time. He wouldn’t be sur­prised if things went the same way in Milan tonight.

“To be hon­est I think it is go­ing to be a 50/50,” said Harper. “Real have got great play­ers but Atletico have been a solid team for the last four or five years and are re­ally hard to beat. I will go out and watch it some­where with my friends and fam­ily and it will be a huge deal over here, ev­ery­body will ei­ther be want­ing Madrid to win or al­ter­na­tively want­ing them to lose. It should be a great Satur­day night but I have some­where to go on Sun­day, so I will get to bed early.”

Every­onere­spect­shimso much, heal­waysseems tosaytheright­thing

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