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Crystal Palace (A) Sat 31 Jan 2015, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Bring On Madrid, Says Sylvain

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Sylvain Distin says a desire to test himself against the world's top players is the very reason he got into football.

The Frenchman helped Everton to an International Champions Cup victory over Italian giants Juventus on Thursday morning, teeing up a semi-final contest with the mighty Real Madrid.

And having thwarted the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez in San Francisco, the veteran 35-year-old now can't wait to tackle Cristiano Ronaldo and co. in LA.

"I've always said I started playing football to play in those kinds of games and to play against those kinds of players," the defender told evertontv. "And even if it's not in a Champions League game, for me it's always enjoyable to play against a big-name striker. I'd rather do that than have an easy game. That's what I work hard for - to play in those games."

A goal from Kevin Mirallas had given the Blues the ascendancy against Juventus before Kwadwo Asamoah's late strike forced a penalty shootout.

The usually unflappable Pirlo then missed to cancel out an earlier miscue from Leon Osman before Federico Peluso fluffed his lines at the vital moment.

"It was a good boost but it's just the beginning, it's still pre-season and I'm not sure we are match fit yet," said Distin. "The end of the game was pretty difficult.

"Even if we played hard and they played and it didn't feel like a friendly game, it was a friendly game and only our fourth and for some of the players it was the first time they've played a full game as well. There's still a lot of work to do but it was a good, solid performance.

"We won against a really, really good team and I have to say at the back we felt really comfortable and it was enjoyable. I think we played really good football."

You can watch Everton v Real Madrid on evertontv this Saturday. Kick off is 5pm USA time, 1am (Sunday) UK time, click here to sign up.

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