CARDIFF, Wales, Sporting Alert — Gareth Bale starts on the bench for Real Madrid for today’s Champions League final against Juventus at the National Stadium in Cardiff.
Bale, who is coming off an injury, was hoping to start in front of his hometown supporters in Wales, but will have to watch as a reserve to start this one, as boss Zinedine Zidane opted to give Isco the nod in the starting XI.
Meanwhile, Spanish defender Dani Carvajal, who was questionable for the final, is fit to start and he comes in for Brazilian Danilo at full-back.
Joining Iso in the attack are Cristiano Ronaldo, who starts on the left and Karim Benzema, who will lead the line from the center.
Besides Bale, striker Álvaro Morata, who is being linked with a move away from the Spanish champions, also starts the game on the bench but is expected to play a part before the final whistle.
Meanwhile, veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, seeking his first Champions League title, will start between the sticks for Juventus.
Dani Alves, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli will be among the protectors for Buffon.
Former Real Madrid forward Gonzalo Higuaín leads the attack for the Italian Serie A champions, who are hoping to stop Zidane from becoming the first manager to win back-to-back Champions League titles.
Alex Sandro, Miralem Pjanic, Sami Khedira, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic are also among the starters today for the Old Lady, who have the likes of Claudio Marchisio and Juan Cuadrado among the substitutes.
Raphael Varane, who is being linked with a move to Manchester United, will play alongside captain Sergio Ramos in the heart of the defense for Real Madrid, with Luka Modric and Toni Kroos starting in the middle.
Meanwhile, the possibility of James Rodriguez, who cost Real Madrid over £71m three years ago, making a move this summer looks likely after the Columbian was not even named on the bench for this game.
Today’s clash is a rematch of the 1998 final, which was won 1-0 by Real Madrid.
It’s also the 19th all-time meeting between the two sides.
Real Madrid v Juventus Starting Lineups
Juventus: Buffon, Alves, Chiellini, Bonucci, Barzagli, Sandro, Khedira, Pjanic, Mandzukic, Dybala, Higuaín.
Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Modric, Isco, Kroos, Benzema, Ronaldo.