Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Real Madrid, Juventus, UCL final
Cristiano Ronaldo is unlikely to have Gareth Bale by his side at the start of this Champions League finalMatthias Hangst/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo will play, whether he'll have Gareth Bale for company in the Real Madrid starting XI remains to be seen as the Los Blancos look to become the first team to defend the title in the Champions League era.

Real Madrid play Juventus in the final, and while Zinedine Zidane's men have been impressive, and then some, this season, both domestically and in Europe, they will probably face their stiffest test yet in this Champions League 2017 final.

Juventus have the best defence in the Champions League, and in order to unlock that backline, Zidane will need as much firepower as he can muster.

Bale would have been a good option, or at least a fit Bale would have, but with the Welshman struggling with an ankle injury, the Real Madrid manager has an important decision to make.

The former Tottenham forward has not played since being forced off in the El Clasico against Barcelona on April 23, and while he has been back in full training for a while, Zidane is unlikely to start with the Wales international.

Not just because of the fitness worries, but also due to the form of Isco, who has taken his chance in Bale's absence with both hands.

"I'm not going to say who will play," Zidane said when asked if he will choose Bale or Isco for this Champions League final. "They could play together, as I've already said.

"The most important thing is that we all head into the game physically and mentally prepared."

Right-back Dani Carvajal has a slight hamstring problem, but is expected to be in the starting XI.

Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Juventus, Real Madrid, Champions League 2017 final
Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini will be key to stop Cristiano Ronaldo and co.Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

While Real Madrid's famed "BBC" partnership of Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo is unlikely to start together in this final, Juventus will look to their own "BBC" to give them the coveted title.

The back-three of Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini have been outstanding in the Champions League this season, and they will be expected to keep the likes of Ronaldo and Benzema from scoring.

Stefano Sturaro and Marko Pjaca are ruled out of this game, with Sami Khedira and Mario Mandzukic slight doubts owing to thigh and knee problems.

Expected starting XI:

Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon; Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini; Dani Alves, Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic, Alex Sandro; Mario Mandzukic, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala.


Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Marcelo; Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Isco; Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo.