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Close-shave with Juve will awaken Real, says Karembeu

Gulf News 2018-04-16 16:46:00

Former Los Blancos midfielder says last eight upsets will steer Madrid from complacency

Dubai: Real Madrid will be flustered enough from their recent close-call with Juventus to go all the way in this year’s Uefa Champions League, according to former Los Blancos midfielder Christian Karembeu.

The Spanish giants were 3-0 up heading into last week’s quarter-final second leg at home to Juve only to concede three, before Ronaldo clinched a last gasp penalty to advance to the semis where Real now face Bayern Munich.

It was one of many eyebrow-raising results from the last eight, where Roma also overturned a 4-1 first leg deficit away to Barcelona with a 3-0 win at home to proceed on away goals, and Manchester City were stunned 5-1 on aggregate by domestic rivals Liverpool.

“We can see the Champions League is not anymore easy to anyone,” said 47-year-old Karembeu at Sunday’s Hublot Match of Friendship at Dubai Opera.

“We saw that with Barca, City and of course Madrid against Juve. We saw that anything can happen and that’s a great lesson for Real Madrid for them to see that they have not won anything yet, but could still win a third title in a row.

“One hundred per cent I think they can win it, because they are a club built — and have the DNA — to be in this competition,” he added of the record 12-time European champions, who have won the past two editions.

Victory would alleviate criticism of Real coach Zinedine Zidane, who has had a poor domestic season, but Karembeu was happy to deflect enquiries on whether it would save his old France 1998 World Cup winning teammate his job.

“This isn’t the point,” he replied when asked if all would be forgiven with a third successive Champions League win. “The point is that when you are in a big team and there are many newspapers in the country, it’s normal to have criticism every day.

“This is normal, fair or not fair it’s normal. We create journalism to do that, if not we wouldn’t communicate or have news, it’s the purpose of a new and modern generation.”