1. ITV Report

Gareth Bale fighting for Real Madrid Champions League final starting spot

Wales' Gareth Bale is sweating on a Champions League starting place in his home city on Saturday night.

Gareth Bale (L) and Isco (R) are battling it out for a starting sport for Real Madrid in the Champions League final. Credit: PA

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Bale trained with the rest of the Real Madrid squad at the National Stadium of Wales in Cardiff on Friday night as the 27-year-old attempted to prove his fitness against Juventus.

The Wales forward has not played since coming off in the first half of El Clasico on April 23, and he admitted he may have rushed his return following an ankle operation in November.

Bale hopes to become the sixth man to be crowned a European champion in his home city, with former Manchester United goalkeeper Alex Stepney the only previous British player to do so at Wembley in 1968.

But Spanish international Isco shone in the closing stages of the LaLiga season as Real won a first domestic title since 2012, and Bale said earlier this week he would "understand it completely" if he started the final on the bench.

I'm not going to tell you who's going to play. Isco and Bale are two players who can also play together; in the long run, anything can happen. When I look at my squad, what's good is that they're all ready and willing to play. It's not only mentally, of course, they have to be ready physically too. That's what I'm interested in right now, everyone in good shape and at a high level.

– Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid Manager

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