Real Madrid can go all the way in the Champions League, says 1998 winner Amavisca

The ex-Spain winger believes Carlo Ancelotti’s side have what it takes to win ‘La Decima’ and feels that Isco has a key role to play in their campaign

By Alberto Pinero in Madrid

Jose Amavisca believes former club Real Madrid can win this season’s Champions League – but says the Spanish side should rest Cristiano Ronaldo for their quarter-final second-leg clash at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night.

Ronaldo withdrew just 20 minutes into Los Blancos‘ final training session at Signal Iduna Park on Monday evening and coach Carlo Ancelotti claimed he would not risk the Portuguese.

After winning last week’s first-leg 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu, Amavisca agrees that there is no need to take any chances with the Ballon d’Or holder.

“If it were up to me, I’d rest him against Dortmund,” the former Spain international told Goal. “With a 3-0 lead, Madrid don’t need Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Madrid were favourites to go through even before the first match. They are having a great year.”

Amavisca, a late substitute in Madrid’s 1998 Champions League final win over Juventus, is optimistic about his old club’s hopes of reaching their Decima dream this time around.

“They have great staff, incredible players and of course they can fight to reach the final,” he said. “There are other great teams left in the competition, but if this Madrid team get to the final then why not win it?”

Madrid lost out to Dortmund in the semi-finals of last year’s competition, but did knock out the German side en route to victory in 1998, when the match at the Bernabeu was almost suspended after one of the sets of goalposts gave way.

“What happened with the goal was a little strange for a European semi-final, really. We were already in the warm-up when it collapsed and there were no replacement goalposts at the stadium, so some club staff had to take a truck to the training ground because otherwise, Uefa would have suspended the game,” the 42-year-old recalled. “In the end it all worked out well and we went through, so it became a nice anecdote.”

Christian Karembeu scored one of the goals that beat BVB in the 2-0 success in 1998 and Amavisca sees similarities between the Frenchman and Isco, who returned to form with a fine finish in last week’s 3-0 win over Dortmund.

“Isco is technically exceptionally gifted,” he said. “Every time he comes on to play a few minutes he goes out there with an overwhelming desire. And that was the effort that Karembeu always put in at Real Madrid.

“Curiously, both have scored goals at this crucial time of the season against Borussia Dortmund when they weren’t playing a principal role at Real Madrid.”

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