Jude Bellingham shows off his now iconic celebration as Real Madrid stars pose for their Champions League final portraits… with Vinicius Jr full of smiles and Toni Kroos looking unfazed ahead of his club football swansong

Real Madrid go in search of a record-extending 15th Champions League title next month and ahead of the Wembley showpiece, Jude Bellingham and his team-mates have posed for official portraits. 

Carlo Ancelotti‘s side have the opportunity to cap off a superb season that has already seen them wrestle the LaLiga title from their rivals Barcelona, while the Italian coach bids to extend another landmark achievement of his own and win the European Cup for a fifth time. 

However, standing in their way are Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, who last featured in the Champions League final more than a decade ago when the event was last hosted in London.

The occasion will be the swansong for Dortmund legend Marco Reus, as well as his compatriot and Los Blancos midfielder Toni Kroos, who announced he will be retiring after this summer’s European Championships. 

Madrid stars embraced the pageantry and media glare that accompanies the biggest game in club football, with the Bellingham reenacting his now iconic goal celebration ahead of the meeting against his old side. 

Jude Bellingham has enjoyed a remarkable debut season at Real Madrid following a £113m transfer from Borussia Dortmund

The 20-year-old superstar is looking to become only the fifth British player to win the Champions League with a non-English club

Bellingham has racked up 35 goal contributions in 40 appearances in all competitions

The 20-year-old superstar is looking to become only the fifth British player to win the Champions League with a non-English club

Vinicius Jr has been just as important to Real Madrid's success this season, perhaps more, with him recording 34 goal contributions in 37 appearances

Vinicius Jr has been just as important to Real Madrid’s success this season, perhaps more, with him recording 34 goal contributions in 37 appearances

The English superstar has enjoyed a phenomenal debut season in the Spanish capital following a £113million move from Dortmund. He has racked up 35 goal contributions in 40 appearances in all competitions. 

Four of Bellingham’s goals have come in Europe this season and he has also laid on four assists for his team-mates in the competition. Though, the 20-year-old is yet to find the net in the knockout stages.

That goalscoring load has fallen on the shoulders of Vinicius Jr, who was the matchwinner for Madrid in their 2022 win over Liverpool in Paris. The Brazilian has 34 goal contributions to his name in only 37 appearances in all competitions. 

His efforts rescued a draw in the semi-final first-leg and he proved to be a constant threat down the left flank in the second match-up . 

Wembley is set to host the European Cup final for the eighth time, that last of which took place in 2013 when Bayern Munich defeat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in an all-Germany affair. 

Vinicius Jr proved the match winner for Madrid in the 2022 Champions League final

Bellingham is yet to find the net in the knockout stages of the Champions League this season

Carlo Ancelotti has relied on the attacking threat of Vinicius Jr and Jude Bellingham this season, with the pair combining for46 goals this term

Real Madrid and Germany legend Toni Kroos is bidding to win his sixth and final Champions League after announcing that he will be retiring at the end of the season

Real Madrid and Germany legend Toni Kroos is bidding to win his sixth and final Champions League after announcing that he will be retiring at the end of the season

Luka Modric, who won the 2018 Ballon d'Or, is also seeking a sixth European Cup triumph when Madrid take on Dortmund

Luka Modric, who won the 2018 Ballon d’Or, is also seeking a sixth European Cup triumph when Madrid take on Dortmund

Federico Valverde has enjoyed his best season in a Real Madrid shirt and his featured in all but one of their games in all competitions

Federico Valverde has enjoyed his best season in a Real Madrid shirt and his featured in all but one of their games in all competitions 

Brazilian forward Rodrygo is another important component of the Madrid attack. He has 17 goals and nine assists to his name this season

Brazilian forward Rodrygo is another important component of the Madrid attack. He has 17 goals and nine assists to his name this season

Madrid progressed to the June 1 date after a 4-3 aggregate win over Bayern. The Spanish giants were minutes away from crashing out of the competition before former Newcastle and Stoke City striker Joselu came off the bench to net late goals at the Bernabeu. 

Los Blancos still have one league game left to play before the final in London. Ancelotti’s side welcome Real Betis on Saturday night. Having secured the title with three games left to play, the former Chelsea manager has rotated his squad for the win against Alaves and draw against Villarreal. 

Ancelotti has almost his entire first team roster to chose from for the fixture. First-choice stopper Thibaut Courtois has returned from injury and played in three of the last four league games, though he sat out both legs of the Champions League semi-final. 

The Madrid boss is reportedly set to give the Belgian, who missed the entire season due to a torn ACL, followed by a setback with a meniscus injury, the nod in London. Backup goalkeeper Andriy Lunin stepped up in his absence and completed some heroic performances during the campaign. 

His form saw Chelsea loanee Kepa Arrizabalaga demoted, having only been signed last summer to deputise for Courtois. 

The Spanish giants will be without David Alaba, who suffered an ACL injury in December, while Aurelien Tchouameni is a doubt after picking up a foot injury in the semi-final first leg. 

Antonio Rudiger has proved to be a massive hit in the Spanish capital since arriving from Chelsea on a free transfer in 2022

Antonio Rudiger has proved to be a massive hit in the Spanish capital since arriving from Chelsea on a free transfer in 2022

Thibaut Courtois could make his first appearance in the competition this season, having recently returned from an ACL injury

Thibaut Courtois could make his first appearance in the competition this season, having recently returned from an ACL injury

Andriy Lunin has completed some heroic performances during the campaign

Chelsea loanee Kepa Arrizabalaga lost his place in the starting XI and has featured only twice in the league in 2024

Backup goalkeepers Andriy Lunin (left) and Kepa Arrizabalaga (right) have deputised in the absence of Courtois this season

Eduardo Camavinga's positional flexibility has been incredibly useful to the Madrid boss, who has deployed the 21-year-old in midfield as well as in defence this term

Eduardo Camavinga’s positional flexibility has been incredibly useful to the Madrid boss, who has deployed the 21-year-old in midfield as well as in defence this term

Former Newcastle and Stoke City striker Joselu scored the dramatic late goals which fired Madrid past Bayern Munich in the semi-final

Former Newcastle and Stoke City striker Joselu scored the dramatic late goals which fired Madrid past Bayern Munich in the semi-final

Carlo Ancelotti is looking to win a record-extending fifth Champions League trophy after previously lifting the trophy on two occasions with AC Milan and Madird

Carlo Ancelotti is looking to win a record-extending fifth Champions League trophy after previously lifting the trophy on two occasions with AC Milan and Madird

Ancelotti opened up on another of his selection headaches ahead of their Madrid’s LaLiga fixture last weekend, revealing that Eder Militao, who has also recently returned following an ACL injury, is in contention to start the final. 

‘It could be that he starts in the final, he is close to 100 per cent,’ he told reporters. ‘He was missing minutes and he is taking them. He will play tomorrow and I see him very close to his best level. It is an option that we have.’


Source From: Football | Mail Online

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