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Real's XI in Kiev had played only three times since Cardiff

Since triumphing against Juventus a year ago, Zinedine Zidane's starting line-up against Liverpool had only been together against Gremio,Juventus and Athletic.

Alineación Real Madrid: El once de Cardiff sólo ha jugado tres veces esta temporada
Carl RecineREUTERS

Zinedine Zidane opted to play the same XI that started the Champions League final against Juventus last year in Kiev, the 11 players that lined up against Liverpool therefore becoming the first in history to take to the pitch in the showpiece game of Europe’s elite club competition on two consecutive occasions.

Zidane's side defeated Jürgen Klopp's Liverpool 3-1 on Saturday to lift a third consecutive Champions League trophy, etching their names into the history books and consecrating the Real boss as the only manager in the history of the game to win the competition on three consecutive occasions.

However, due to injuries, Zidane’s adherence to a strict policy of rotation and other factors, including Cristiano Ronaldo’s five game suspension for shoving the referee in the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona, the starting XI in Kiev had only played together on three occasions previously in 2017-18 since lifting Real’s 12th title in Cardiff.

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Zidane's Kiev XI unbeaten and unbreached this season

Keylor Navas, Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Casemiro, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Isco, Ronaldo and Karim Benzema did not feature together again for Madrid until week 14 of the Liga season, against Athletic Bilbao in San Mamés, where they were held to a goalless draw.

Two weeks later, the same side took to the pitch in the Club World Cup final against Grêmio, where Real beat the Brazilian side by a single goal to retain their title in Abu Dhabi.

The same XI would not then coincide again until almost four months later in the quarter-finals of the Champions League against Juventus in Turin, where Zidane’s side ran out 3-0 winners.


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