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Should Gareth Bale start for Real Madrid in Champions League Final against Liverpool?

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Villarreal v Real Madrid - La Liga Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Real Madrid face Liverpool in Kiev with Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Isco Alarcon competing for two spots in the starting lineup. One of them will almost surely get dropped and while two months ago Bale seemed to be out of the rotation, his form has improved drastically and is now in contention for that spot alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. Should he start?

Pros

  • It will be a quick, physical game and that suits Bale. Liverpool will most likely make this Final a Premier League-like game. Needless to say, that benefits Gareth Bale, as both teams could have counterattacking chances.
  • His form this month has been excellent. Bale is in good form, finishing chances and creating them for the team as well. Real Madrid should just take advantage of that, right?
  • He knows this could be his last game for the club so will try to send a message. Bale might leave the club this summer as his last two seasons have been disappointing. However, he will try to earn redemption and there’s no better game for that than the Champions League Final.

Cons

  • Real should probably try to keep the ball as much as possible. Bale’s game suits a counterattacking match, but shouldn’t Real Madrid try to dominate the ball and control the game to begin with? If Zidane thinks the answer to that question is “yes”, Isco and Benzema will be needed.
  • Ronaldo is more comfortable with Benzema to his side. Zidane will almost surely decide not to start the BBC of Benzema, Bale and Ronaldo because the flanks will need to help the fullbacks. As we’ve said many times in the past, Real Madrid need to make their best player —who is clearly Cristiano Ronaldo— better. That’s not what Bale does.
  • Bale could be extremely useful off the bench. Liverpool will press with intensity all game long but it’s obvious that they could and should get tired with 30 or 20 minutes to go. In that kind of scenario, Bale could thrive and having him and Asensio as weapons off the bench would be great for Zidane.

HOW TO WATCH, STREAM CHAMPIONS LEAGUE FINAL

Date: 05/26/2018

Time: 21:45 local, 20:45 GMT+2 (Spain), 02:45pm EST, 11:45am Pacific.

Venue: Olimpiyskiy Kiev, Kiev, Ukraine.

Available TV: FOX (USA), BT Sport 2 (UK), Antena 3 (Spain).

Available Streaming: FOX Match Pass (USA), Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream, click here to sign up and benefit from a spring discount for new members and Managing Madrid readers).