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Zidane says pursuit of history galvanises Real Madrid

Madrid (AFP) – The possibility of reaching a third straight Champions League final is “galvanising” Real Madrid for their semi-final second leg against Bayern Munich, Zinedine Zidane told a press conference on Monday.

“It’s an extra motivation,” the Real Madrid coach said. 

“What drives this club is to try to do the maximum, all of us, to regret nothing,” he said. 

Real is at home on Tuesday and leads 2-1 after the away leg. 

“If we execute well with desire and motivation we have a great chance of reaching our objective.” 

Sergio Ramos, the Real captain, added that the chance to play in a third final was “reward for all our work, our perseverance”.

“We are making seem easy what is practically impossible. No one has won two in a row,” he said, which hasn’t happened since 1990, before the competition was enlarged switched a to a group format. “What motivates us, is to keep breaking records and winning titles.

“One of the strengths of Real is that opponents are not all the same and we study them carefully to learn how to hurt them,” Ramos explained. 

“At 1-1 in the first leg, Bayern had to chase a victory and we knew we could do damage on the conter-attack. We would have liked to score more, but the result was good. The scenario tomorrow is very similar, the other team must overcome a bad result and we will try to exploit that. I hope we stay committed in defence.”

While Ramos, the defender, emphasised defence, his boss talked of attack.

“The key is to try to win the match,” Zidane said. “Not to retreat and not to do anything stupid. We must try to score quickly.

“Bayern will not be worried,” he said. “They will come to play without inhibitions. We must be ready. 

– ‘We have not won anything yet’ –

While Real are still chasing the Champions League, their chief Spanish rival, Barcelona, completed the Spanish domestic double on Sunday, clinching the league title to go with their cup victory.

Sergio Ramos and Zidane were asked which achievement was greater.

“Barcelona deserved to be a champion, we have to congratulate them, nothing more,” said Zidane. “We have not won anything yet, they have won two trophies and have had a great season. We do not minimise what they have done, but what interests us is what we’re going to do.” 

Ramos could not resist a dig. 

“Barca have done the double and that’s a good year for them,” he said. “But winning the Champions League, that’s worth two titles, maybe more.” 

Against Leganes on Saturday, Zidane coached his 200th match (57 with Real’s reserves and 143 in charge of the club). 

He was asked how has he improved. 

“Of course I have a little more experience, but experience of big moments, because I experienced them last year,” he said. “There are tons of coaches more competent than I am. But I have experience of being there and of the changing room.” 

Ramos said he had no choice but to sound as if he was giving in to flattery. 

“The results speak for themselves,” he said. “He is a great coach, we are proud that he is captaining this ship.” 

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