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26th May 2018

Zinedine Zidane criticised for benching Gareth Bale for Champions League final

'This is criminal'

Simon Lloyd

Zinedine Zidane, we should point out, knows a thing or two about winning a Champions League final.

Real Madrid manager for two and a bit years, he has finished each season in charge of the club by winning a European Cup. Should they beat Liverpool in Kiev tonight, he’ll do it for a third time. Not bad going really.

Despite this, plenty felt he’d made a significant error in his team selection for the big game by deciding not to start Gareth Bale.

The Welshman has struggled to hold down a place in Real’s team this year, but a strong finish was enough to convince many – including MARCA – that he’d be starting in Kiev.

It was not to be. When Real’s team news was published, it revealed that Bale started on the bench, Zidane favouring Karim Benzema as a starter.

The decision came as a surprise to many…

If Real do defeat Liverpool, it will be their 13th title and fourth in their last five seasons.