Wednesday , February 21 2024

Real Madrid squad arrive in Milan for Champions League final

Cristiano Ronaldo tried to hide from the glare of attention in a pair of shades as he and his Real Madrid colleagues touched down at Malpensa Airport ahead of the their Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.

The Portuguese star has been the subject of much speculation regarding his fitness for the clash with city rivals Atletico. Ronaldo hobbled out of Tuesday’s training session after a collision with goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, prompting alarm among Los Blancos fans.

The 31-year-old was quick to play down any concerns and appeared laid-back upon arrival in Milan.

Cristiano Ronaldo stepped off the plane at Malpensa Airport hiding from the glare in a pair of sunglasses

The Real Madrid star's fitness has been a concern ahead of the Champions League final on Saturday

The Italian sun beamed down on the Real stars as they stepped off their Iberia flight into Milan

A laid-back mood appeared to have prevailed over the Real squad as they touched down. Marcelo shared a knowing look with an official as he made his way from the Real bus to the team hotel.

Even manager Zinedine Zidane was snapped sharing a joke with front-man Karim Benzema as the squad disembarked the plane.

The 10-time European champions touched down in Milan on Friday as they prepare to take on Diego Simeone’s side on Saturday night at the San Siro, in a carbon copy of the 2014 final in Lisbon.

Earlier on Gareth Bale looked in high spirits as the squad jetted off to Milan.

Zinedine Zidane seemed pleased to touch down on Italian soil after Real's flight from Madrid

The Bernabeu chief shared a light-hearted moment with compatriot Karim Benzema as they touched down

An official team bus was awaiting the Real Madrid squad at the airport to whisk the squad away to their hotel

Marcelo shared a knowing look with an official as he made his way off the Real bus

Gareth Bale steps off the bus after the journey to the Real hotel where they will be based for Saturday's final

Bale, who looks set for a key in role in Saturday’s big clash, smiled for a picture alongside Luka Modric on-board Real’s flight to Milan.

Fellow Bernabeu stars Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Danilo, Lucas Vazquez, Keylor Navas and James Rodriguez all appeared in equally good mood as they posed for pictures on the plane.

Real are bidding for their ‘Undecima’ at the San Siro and a repeat of their 2014 win when Bale scored the crucial goal in extra time.

Los Blancos had trailed for the majority of that night at the Estadio de Luz before Sergio Ramos equalised in the third minute of second-half stoppage time.

Ex-Spurs pair Bale and Luka Modric on-board Real Madrid's flight to Milan for the Champions League final

Defensive duo Sergio Ramos and Marcelo are all smiles as they fly in for Saturday's Euroepan showpiece

Danilo (left),  Lucas Vazquez (top), Keylor Navas (front) and James Rodriguez are in high-spirits for the flight

In extra time Angel Di Maria capitalised on Atletico’s tiredness with a mazy run only to see his shot saved by Thibaut Courtois but Bale headed home the rebound.

The Wales international said that the knowledge of what happened that night could well play a part as they meet Atletico again.

‘I would rather not be 1-0 down with one minute to go, but it definitely plays a part,’ Bale told ESPN.

The Real Madrid forward is desperate to win the Champions League final against Atletico Madrid on Saturday

Bale scored the key goal in the 2014 Champions League final, also against Saturday's opponents

‘The first thing you think about is your last final and to know you can beat the opponent. We know this will be a completely different game, but we are confident we can win it.’

The 26-year-old says Real have more licence to express themselves under Zinedine Zidane, who was assistant in 2014, and that explains their improved form since the turn of the year.

‘[Zidane] gives us freedom and confidence on the pitch and that has showed in the second half of the season. I think that is why our performances have improved,’ Bale added.

The Welshman says the victory in that final will act as a mental boost in Saturday's game at the San Siro

Bale says Real Madrid boss Zidane allows him more freedom and has improved the team's form

Bale shared this picture alongside Hollywood star Richard Gere and his Real Madrid team-mates

‘We’re hitting our peak and playing very well at the moment. Hopefully we can take the form we’ve been producing into the final and win the trophy.’

The Welsh star grabbed a picture with Hollywood Galactico Richard Gere, who was on-board the same flight as Real’s squad, as they jetted into Milan.

Bale shared the snap with Gere on his social media profiles alongside team-mates Modric, Navas, Mateo Kovacic and Vazquez with the caption ‘En route to Milan’.

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