Soccer-Hungry Alaba fit and ready for Champions League final


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Real Madrid Training - Ciudad Real Madrid, Valdebebas, Spain - May 24, 2022 Real Madrid's David Alaba talks to media after training REUTERS/Susana Vera

MADRID (Reuters) - Success has followed David Alaba throughout his career and when Real Madrid were crowned LaLiga champions last month it was the Austria defender's 11th successive league title.

After winning 27 trophies, including 10 Bundesliga and two Champions League titles with Bayern Munich, the 29-year-old joined Real last year and will again play in Europe's elite club competition final on Saturday versus Liverpool in Paris.

Those accomplishments would satisfy many players but not Alaba who says is hungry for more.

"I live to be successful," he told Reuters ahead of the showpiece match at the Stade de France.

"We live to play in games like the Champions League final and all the knockout stages that we won against Paris St Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City.

"This is what we love and this is our motivation as high level players. At the biggest stage you have to have that hunger to be successful."

Real are in their fifth Champions League final in nine years led by Italian Carlo Ancelotti, the first coach to win the European Cup three times with two different clubs and on the verge of leapfrogging Bob Paisley and Zinedine Zidane to become the first to win it four times.

"From the very first day in Madrid you really feel the atmosphere and the culture in here, that this is the biggest club in the world," Alaba said.

"It's about the history that this club have written, so much success for decades, and you want to write your own chapter. Living here is really special.

"The culture is to have characters who always want to compete every single day, that want to be the best you can be. And this is what we are doing every single day here. We work very hard to be the best at the end of the day."

FULLY FIT

Alaba, who missed Real's last six games due to a leg muscle injury suffered in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final against Manchester City in late April, said he is "fully recovered and 100% ready to go" in the final.

"Liverpool have been a really good team for several years, really strong and successful, who have a lot of power and play with a really high intensity," Alaba added.

"Especially on offence, they are a high quality team with individual players that are really strong.

"But we have prepared very well and analysed them. We will need to push them and work as a team. This is what is going to be very important."

Alaba said the grit Real showed during the knockout stage to eliminate PSG, Chelsea and City with three remarkable come-from-behind results, created an atmosphere in the dressing room that has remained leading up to the final.

"When you reach the final the way we did, you have this motivation, experience, but you also have the hunger to strive for the best, to strive for the greatest," he said.

"And of course, we want to go to Paris to be successful, win and make a dream come true."

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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