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Champions League

Former Real Madrid chief hits back at Jurgen Klopp in bizarre “training ground” row

Former Real Madrid chief Jorge Valdano has hit back at Jurgen Klopp’s apparent dig directed at the club’s training ground.

Los Blancos beat Liverpool 3-1 in the first-leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday night.

The match was played at Madrid’s 6,000 capacity Alfredo Di Stefano stadium, which has been their home throughout the campaign.

Improvements are being undertaken at the Bernabeu meaning the Spanish giants have had to make do at a base situated on their training complex.

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Klopp said after the defeat: “This was strange tonight because it was really difficult with the stadium, but Anfield is at least a proper stadium and it will be good for us.”

But Valdano has taken issue with the German’s comments and insists Madrid give up home advantage by playing their matches at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium.

Jurgen Klopp took issue with the venue of Tuesday's game
Jurgen Klopp took issue with the venue of Tuesday’s game

He also took a swipe at Anfield, which was redeveloped in 2016, as he underlined the club’s needs to retain a modern stadium.

“What you have to consider is that Real Madrid don’t play at Valdebebas to gain a competitive advantage,” he told Spanish radio station Onda Cero.

“An empty [Estadio Santiago] Bernabeu is still imposing and affects opponents negatively.

“Therefore, Madrid actually lose out on a sporting advantage by playing there.

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The European clash took place at Real Madrid's temporary home
The European clash took place at Real Madrid’s temporary home

“What [Ronald] Koeman said is also true: Madrid have taken advantage of the situation to create a 21st century stadium, and when it’s ready the stadium that’ll look like a training ground is Anfield if we’re comparing [the two].

“You have to keep up with the times.”

Liverpool will host Madrid on Wednesday needing a two-goal swing but have the luxury of Mohamed Salah’s away goal.

They warmed up by seeing off Aston Villa 2-1 at Anfield, a win that snapped a six-game losing streak at home in the Premier League.

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