Champions League final: Rafael Nadal wants Real Madrid European glory as birthday present

Paris: Rafael Nadal will briefly step back from his assault on a 10th French Open title to support his beloved Real Madrid in Saturday's Champions League final against Juventus.

The Spaniard stormed into the last 16 at Roland Garros on Friday, thrashing Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 for his most lopsided Grand Slam victory.

Nadal turns 31 on Saturday and while he admitted he wasn't asking for any particular gifts, the 14-time Grand Slam winner would love to see Real claim another European title.

Spain's Rafael Nadal waves after defeating Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili during their third round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, Friday, June 2, 2017 in Paris. Nadal won 6-0, 6-1, 6-0. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd after defeating Nikoloz Basilashvili at Roland Garros. AP

"Tomorrow at 8.45 I'm going to be in front of the TV for sure supporting my team, hoping that Real Madrid will win another time," said Nadal.

"Very close match. It's obvious that anything could happen. Juve I think only conceded three goals in the whole Champions League. Going to be so difficult.

"And Madrid probably one of the teams with the most potential to score goals."

Eleven-time winners Real are seeking to become the first team in the Champions League era to defend their title, but Nadal predicts it being a tough road back for Zinedine Zidane's side if they fall behind in Cardiff.

"I think for Madrid it will be so important to score before than Juve, because defensively Juve is so strong. So if Juve scores before, then it's gonna be tough."

Nadal will return to action on Sunday when he faces compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut, the 17th seed, for a place in the quarter-finals.


Published Date: Jun 02, 2017 09:29 pm | Updated Date: Jun 02, 2017 09:29 pm


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