Champions League final: Real Madrid′s key men against Liverpool | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 25.05.2018
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Champions League final: Real Madrid's key men against Liverpool

Real Madrid is a team of stars playing in their third straight Champions League final. DW takes a look at some of the Spanish side's key protagonists as they try to lift the trophy yet again on Saturday.

Real Madrid go into Saturday's Champions League final looking to make a little more history, even after all they have achieved in recent years. A win over Liverpool would make them the first team to win the competition three consecutive times since Bayern Munich did so between 1974 and 1976 — back when the tournament was still the European Cup.

They've won it three out of the last four years, and in 2017 Real became the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Champions League format was introduced in 1992.

Every great team has a central cast of characters who play key roles in its success. Here are the Real Madrid protagonists who will be center stage at Kyiv's NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is the king of the Champions League. With 120 goals, no one in history has scored more in the competition than the Portuguese superstar. His 15 Champions League goals this term are five more than any other player has to his name. In fact, he has scored in all but two of Real Madrid's European contests this season.

Cristiano Ronaldo is setting goal-scoring records left and right, but he could join elite company in a different way on Saturday. If Real Madrid down Liverpool in Kyiv, he would be the first player since Italian defender Alessandro Costacurta to win a fifth Champions League title. 

Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane (picture-alliance/Anadolu Agency/B. Akbulut)

Zinedine Zidane has lead Real Madrid to the Champions League final in each of his three seasons

Zinedine Zidane

The former midfield maestro has transitioned from the pitch to the coaching zone in the best possible way. Saturday's match will be Real Madrid's third consecutive Champions League final appearance in Zidane's third season in charge.

However, this hasn't been the greatest season for Zidane or Real Madrid. His side finished third in the Spanish league behind Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, and was knocked out of the Copa del Rey in the quarterfinals by CD Leganes, a team that was relegated at the end of the La Liga season. However, another Champions League title would still make his third season in charge look like a success.

Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos (picture-alliance/dpa/gtres)

Toni Kroos is aiming to be the first German player since 1976 to win three consecutive Champions League titles

Much like he is for the German national team, Kroos is Real Madrid's metronome in midfield. Everything runs through him and he sets the pace of the game, which is why Zidane has called him the "perfect" player for Real Madrid.

He has averaged more than 70 passes per game this season for Los Merengues, and he completes them at a success rate of over 93 percent. He also scored a career high five goals in Spain's top division, though he has yet to get onto the score sheet in the Champions League.

Kroos is aiming to lift his fourth Champions League trophy on Saturday, which would make him the first German player to do so.

Read more: Metronomic maestro Kroos makes Real Madrid tick again  

Sergio Ramos

Sergio Ramos (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Fernandez)

Sergio Ramos is in his 13th season with Real Madrid

If Cristiano Ronaldo is the muscle, Sergio Ramos is the heart. Zidane once called the Real Madrid captain the "soul of the team," and Carlo Ancelotti, his coach from 2013-2015, dubbed him the "most complete professional."

Many, including Ancelotti, have called him the best defender in the world. Not only does Ramos have the ability to stay with any attacker, but he also has a knack for scoring on set pieces — 10 of his 11 career Champions League goals have come from dead balls.

Should Real triumph in the Champions League for a third consecutive year, Ramos will undoubtedly be a key player in their victory. The 32-year-old could also add a fourth European title to a very stuffed trophy case, which includes two European Championships and one World Cup as a member of the Spanish national team.

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