Speaking at the Open Media Day for his club Real Madrid, Coach Zinedine Zidane praised the Liverpool side but suggested that they couldn’t be ‘hungrier’ than they are. Both teams will meet at Kiev on Saturday for the final.
Zidane praised Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp ahead of the game, calling him a ‘formidable’ opponent, expecting a clash of their widely distinctive styles. The Frenchman says that the German manager has done a great job in pushing Liverpool to two European finals since taking over in 2015. He said, “I don’t know him personally, I’ve never spoken with him, but I’ve seen his work, and it’s formidable. He has shown it over the years, not only at Dortmund but also now with Liverpool. I respect him a lot for what he’s doing in the Champions League and Premier League.”
He also talked about his team in great detail suggesting that they have a desire to win the title and shut the naysayers. He commented, “I don’t know how hungry they are, but we definitely want more, and nobody can say they’re hungrier than us. We’re Real Madrid, and this club always wants more so we will give our best to achieve it.”
Earlier, Toni Kroos described the opponents as “tough, competitive, aggressive and very strong,” but Zidane doesn’t want his team to believe they are playing against raw savages. He wants to adopt a balanced and savvy approach that could help them find chances, breaking the defense of the opponents and scoring valuable and critical goals for the team.
Former managers, coaches, and experts have predicted that the Spanish club will easily steal victory by either 4-1 or 3-0. The believers include the likes of Vicente del Bosque and Jose Antonio Camacho. They consider Liverpool, a classic underdog. Kroos was even surprised that Liverpool is in the final and considered it an achievement for the team. Zidane doesn’t want to take the position lightly. He would instead want to prove his skills as a manager on the field.
He said, “Everyone speaks about the three up front [Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mané] and says they’re less at the back, but they’re a team unit. They’ve got to the final and deserved to be there, just like us.”
He was also sure that BBC- Benzema, Bale, and Cristiano, will work correctly for them, giving Madrid the desired edge in the match. He said that he has 25 players to experiment with and although the BBC trio has done an excellent job, he is not sure if all three will be on the field together during the final. He also denied revealing the name of players who will open for the club.
Klopp and his team, on the other hand, are preparing for the final in full swing. Though Klopp is known for keeping the team working in a rawer fashion, Zidane is also not one of the best tacticians in the world. It would also be a test of styles and an ability to handle the pressure that will decide the winner.