Former Real Madrid star backs club to make UCL history


Zidane in a chat with Gareth Bale
Romania football legend Gheorghe Hagi has backed Real Madrid to retain their UEFA Champions League title this season.

AC Milan was the last club to successfully defend the European Cup in 1990 before the format of the competition was changed by UEFA in 1992 – since then no club has been able to win it back-to-back.

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Real Madrid finished second in Group F behind Borussia Dortmund and got drawn against Serie A side Napoli in the round of 16 and Hagi who represented the Los Blancos from 1990 to 1992 believes that the Zinedine Zidane side have the capacity to win the title.

"I think Real Madrid is the favourite at this moment," he said.

"They're fit. [Head coach Zinedine] Zidane is doing well. He gave the team a lot of [confidence] and [calmness].

"You can see how the players are happy, so they can deliver. Barca started very, very good," he added, referring to another of his old clubs, 2014-15 Champions League winners Barcelona.

"But I have the feeling physically and mentally they are, at the moment, one step down. When someone is not at his best it is very difficult to give his best."

He also spoke about other contenders, he said: "I think [former Bara coach] Pep [Guardiola] will do a very good job at [Manchester] City too. He is [moving] the right way despite [the fact] he wants to rejuvenate his team but he will do a good job. Let's see.

"Bayern [Munich] seems confused at the moment but you never know," he added, the Bundesliga holders having struggled to convince under Carlo Ancelotti.

"But it is very difficult to forecast one winner. You never know how teams are going to reach the final stages in March. There are four months left, many games to be played.

"Another candidate is Atletico Madrid, which is always pushing with [coach] Diego Simeone. It is incredible, the team's attitude. It is difficult to say. Let's see … but it is important that Barca and Real have an important option to win again."

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