Tag Archives: Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane: “I’m not interested in being favourites”

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Real boss Zinedine Zidane has played down suggestions that his side are favourites to win Europe’s most prestigious club competition again as they host Juventus.

Only a spectacular collapse will deny Real another semi-final appearance following their Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired victory in Italy, where the Portuguese captain scored two goals including an incredible bicycle kick in the first leg.

Twelve-time winners Real are therefore looking to win the competition for the fourth time in five seasons, but Zidane insisted that they could do that without being branded as favourites.

“I’m not interested in talk of favourites, I prefer to show it out on the pitch and we must respect all clubs and all aspects of football,” the former World Cup winner added.

“If we put in a great performance and we are focused throughout the match we have a good chance of battling through, but we must keep that idea in mind.”

Los Blancos will play without suspended captain Sergio Ramos when they host Juventus in the Champions League quarter-final second leg, and defender Jesus Vallejo, 21, could start alongside Raphael Varane for Real.

As for the defending Serie A Champions, they will play without key forward Paulo Dybala, who was sent off in the first leg for two yellow cards, but defender Giorgio Chiellini says that they would put on an improved performance in Spain after their first-leg disappointment.

“We’re not crying about what happened, and we go to Madrid with the desire to play a good game,” Chiellini added. “We’ll treat it like a marathon, not a sprint and we’ll need to go into the game with a level head.”

Prediction:

Real Madrid 0 : 0 Juventus

Injury-time winner sees first Espanyol win over Real Madrid in a decade

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Real Madrid’s La Liga campaign stooped to a new low after an injury-time winner by Gerard Moreno sees Espanyol beat Real Madrid for the first time in over a decade.

Espanyol had not won a single match in 22 competitive games against Real, drawing only three of those in a run that runs back to October 2007.

Although Los Blancos had also won five games in a row ahead of the match, their below-par performance saw Espanyol dominated the game and Moreno having a first-half goal ruled out for a marginal offside call.

Real captain and defender Sergio Ramos was playing as an extra striker by the end of game as Moreno controlled Sergio Garcia’s cross before volleying the ball home.

Team coach Zinedine Zidane had rested Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of next week’s visit to Paris St-Germain in the Champions League last 16, which his side lead 3-1 from the first leg, and selected Gareth Bale at centre-forward in a much-changed team.

“When there’s not long left and it’s 0-0 anything can happen,” Zidane said. “We always look to go for the win and today we didn’t get it. They scored a goal in the last minute, but there’s no need for us to go over it again. We didn’t deserve to win or lose.”

“We were lacking a little bit in all departments. It’s a defeat that hurts and it’s a poor result. I feel sorry for the players.”

“At times, there’s no understanding football. We dropped further back for some spells in the second half but you’ve got to accept these tough times. At no point in the second half did we do well.”

Defending La Liga champions Real remain 14 points behind leaders FC Barcelona, who visit Las Palmas on Thursday in their game in hand.

La Liga: Cristiano Ronaldo gives up penalty in “wonderful” gesture

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Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane praised Cristiano Ronaldo’s “wonderful gesture” after the star gave up the chance of a hat-trick in the win over Alaves.

Ronaldo could have scored his third of the game for a landmark 300th goal for Real Madrid when Los Blancos won a late penalty through Gareth Bale, instead offering the chance Karim Benzema take it for a morale-boosting goal.

Although he only scored three league goals prior to the clash at the Santiago Bernabeu, Benzema, made no mistake on the spot as he stepped up to score his fourth of the La Liga campaign.

The Frenchman had been a delight through most of the game, having set up two of his side’s goals earlier.

“I’m very happy with Ronaldo’s gesture,” Zidane said. “This shows he is a team player. Karim deserved this, to score a goal, as he had played a very good game.”

“This is a team game and it was a wonderful gesture.”

In the first half, Benzema’s backheel had set up his Portuguese team-mate’s first and then played in Gareth Bale after the break, with Lucas Vazquez setting up Ronaldo’s second.

Real goalkeeper Keylor Navas added: “None of us was surprised by Cristiano’s gesture because we know what type of person he is. We’re all pulling in the same direction and we have to show our unity more than ever.

“We’re thrilled with Karim’s goal, as team-mates, we have to stick together. We’re always going to fight for each other and while there is a lot of talk about Karim at the moment, we have to support one another.”

Third-placed Real are 14 points behind leaders Barcelona, who beat Girona 6-1 on Saturday.

Zinedine Zidane: pressure mounts on Real Madrid boss after Copa exit

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Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says that he is enduring his “worst moment” after the defending La Liga champions were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Leganes on Wednesday at the Bernabeu.

Although Marco Asensio had scored a last-minute winner at Butarque in the first leg which gave Real an advantage a 2-1 defeat saw them knocked out on away goals. They were in the cup tie without Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo as per Zidane’s player rotation policy.

“To start this tie in the manner we did it’s really bad,” added Zidane. “For that I’m angry. I don’t understand what’s going on.”

Real faces Paris St-Germain in the Champions League last-16 in what will be the only realistic campaign left for Los Blancos.

had led Real to back-to-back Champions League titles since taking over as head coach, winning eight major trophies since he took charge in January 2016 and enjoying a record 40-game unbeaten run in all competitions last season.

However, a poor start this season saw his team lag 19 points behind of La Liga leaders Barcelona.

“It’s a fiasco,” the French World Cup winner said. “My worst moment as a coach. I don’t regret anything I did in the game, though. I take responsibility for what I do.”

When asked if his future at the club depended on the Champions League tie against PSG on 14 February, the 45-year-old said: “Yes, that’s clear.”

“I’m responsible for this, I’m the boss. I have to find the solutions. We’ve found some of them but not consistently enough. I need to take responsibility and I’ll always fight.”