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The former European Cup-winning defender believes Los Blancos can prevail on Saturday and says Zinedine Zidane’s men will be fine in Milan as long as Cristiano is fit and firing
Former Real Madrid defender Enrique Perez Diaz, better known as Pachin, believes Los Blancos can beat Atletico in the Champions League final on Saturday – as long as Cristiano Ronaldo is fit and on form in Milan.
Ronaldo limped out of training on Tuesday after a collision with goalkeeper Kiko Casilla but later allayed fears over his fitness by telling the media that he had picked up only a knock. Pachin, a two-time European Cup winner with Madrid in 1960 and 1966, sees the Portuguese as vital to Real’s hopes of an 11th title at the weekend.
“All of the players are important, but right now the important thing is for Ronaldo to be right,” he told Goal in an exclusive interview. “If Ronaldo is in shape, we will be happy with that.”
And Pachin, who featured as Madrid thrashed Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 in that famous final back in 1960 and again as they edged out Partizan Belgrade 2-1 in 1966, believes Atletico could still be affected by the manner of their defeat to Los Blancos in Lisbon two years ago – when Sergio Ramos headed a late leveller to force extra time and Carlo Ancelotti’s men ended up claiming the trophy after it had looked lost.
“There is a big responsibility in the European Cup,” he said. “And they may well be affected by how they lost two years ago. To lose with two minutes left is really tough.”
The 77-year-old wants to see Madrid on the attack from the outset at San Siro – even though Atletico are masters in defence.
“Madrid have to open up the match, they have to start well,” he said. “From the first minute they need to go out to win the game and only think about winning. Not speculating.”
Although he played and won two finals, Pachin added: “I don’t remember – it was 50 years ago! What I remember is that there are a lot of nerves, there was a lot of responsibility, because you are playing for the whole year and because the fans expect you to win when it’s the European Cup.
“But of course, sometimes you can’t. Nevertheless, I think we have a great team to win the final. Atletico are a good team and they know what they are doing, but if we play as we do normally, on the counter-attack which is how we should play, I don’t think we will have problems.”