Zinedine Zidane has told Liverpool his Real Madrid team are hungrier than ever to win the Champions League, despite clinching the title in three of the last four years.
Real are gunning for an unprecedented third consecutive success in the competition on Saturday while Liverpool have reached the final for the first time since 2007.
“No one can tell us we are less hungry,” Zidane said. “I can’t speak for our opponents but we want to stress we will always have the same motivation, the same as always, no one can tell us we are less hungry than the rest. “We are Madrid and despite what we have, we always want more, and we will give everything to get even better.”
Real’s experience at the deep end of the Champions League dwarfs that of this Liverpool team, who do not have a single player to have made it this far before.
Zidane also has his own personal achievements to draw upon, having won the most coveted prize in club football three times as a player and manager combined.
“It’s true I lived 18 years as a player inside the changing room, with many coaches, with many players, with just as much ego as me,” Zidane said.
“I know the changing room and I know the mind of a player and that is an important thing for me, but it is not the only thing.
“I am not the best tactician, but I have other things – passion, motivation – and those are worth much more.”
Some have billed this weekend’s showdown as a contest between Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah but when asked if he would swap Ronaldo for the Liverpool forward, Zidane simply replied: “No.”
On Ronaldo’s influence on the final, Zidane said: “The most possible. He is the best so it will be the maximum.”
Zidane would offer no clues as to his starting line-up in Kiev but he did ackowledge the excellent form of Gareth Bale, who has scored five goals in his last four starts.
“He is playing very well, he has scored many goals recently,” Zidane said. “Not only that but he has been very consistent. He has not played so much, but the last three games he has played he has played well.”