I Don’t Think Of Playing Without Ronaldo – Zidane

Zinedine Zidane believes Cristiano Ronaldo will be remembered at Real Madrid in the same glowing terms as Alfredo Di Stefano.

Di Stefano was the face of Real´s domination during the 1950s and 1960s when they won five European Cups and he scored more than 300 goals.

Ronaldo is now trying to lead another prolonged period of European success, with Real gunning for their third consecutive Champions League triumph, and fourth in five years.

They take a 3-0 lead into Wednesday´s quarter-final second leg at home to Juventus after the Portuguese scored twice last week in Turin, a double that included a sensational bicycle kick.

Ronaldo already has 14 goals in this year´s tournament, three short of his best ever 17, which he posted when Real were crowned champions in 2014.

“I do not think of playing without Cristian, we have him and we are happy,” Zidane said on Tuesday.

“There are many people who remember Di Stefano, it is normal – many people, and I am one of them, will now remember Cristiano with this club.

“We have him and it is necessary to take advantage of this. All the teams in the world would be happy to have this player.”

Barring a huge collapse at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real will take their place in next month´s semi-finals but their domestic season has been far less impressive.

Real sit fourth in La Liga, 15 points behind Barcelona, while a shock defeat to Leganes in the Copa del Rey means they have only one chance of a major trophy.

“The explanation I do not have,” Zidane said. “Sometimes this year our consistency has not been very good.

“We have had moments of difficulty, now we are better, but there is no explanation. If you ask me, I have more motivation than I can ever remember to win the league. It is the hardest thing to do, it is what the player wants.

“There are difficult times but in the Champions League, when you look at the trajectory of this club, it is impressive and nobody has reached this level. It is what this club has.”

Real have hit a golden patch in recent weeks, losing only one of their last 15 matches and scoring 20 goals in their last seven.

“When we scored again, with three or four goals, you cheer up, you feel better, you have your confidence back,” Zidane said.

“But it annoys me when people say we are favourites in the Champions League. We are a great team but we have won nothing yet.”

Real will be without the suspended Sergio Ramos for the return game against Juve, meaning 21-year-old defender Jesus Vallejo could come in alongside the more experienced Raphael Varane.

Varane insists he will not look to make up for the loss of Ramos´ leadership at the back.

“My preparation for the match does not change,” Varane said. “I have my personality, I know how to guide my partners, to speak to the team.

“But I will not transform into someone who will bark orders. I will do it with personality, as usual, and the important thing is that the team can rely on me.”

AFP

Record Breaking Cristiano Ronaldo Applauded  After ‘Most Beautiful Goal’

Real Madrid manager, Zinedine Zidane, calls Cristiano Ronaldo’s fantastic overhead bicycle kick “one of the most beautiful goals in the history of football,” following the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals which saw Real Madrid bury Juventus 3-0:

Real Madrid Seek Redemption Against Las Palmas

Real Madrid are in the middle of their worst run of results under Zinedine Zidane but have an ideal opportunity to rise from their slump when they host relegation-fighting Las Palmas in La Liga on Sunday.

Real endured successive defeats for the first time since Zidane took charge in January 2016 when they were beaten by Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday after a dismal defeat at Girona, but their problems pale in comparison to those of their next opponents.

The Canary Island club had Madrid on the ropes in their last visit to the Bernabeu, a thrilling 3-3 draw, but have endured a torrid third campaign in the top flight and are currently 18th in the standings with eight defeats from their 10 games.

The resignation of inexperienced coach Manolo Marquez has not made things any easier for the struggling team, who have lost all four league games under successor Pako Ayesteran, shipping 15 goals in the process.

The team was booed off the pitch by a sparse crowd after their 3-1 home defeat to Deportivo La Coruna last week and in another setback have lost leading striker Jonathan Viera to a hamstring injury.

Their visit should be the perfect tonic for a Madrid side who have looked a shadow of the team that conquered all last season and which made such a convincing start to this campaign by outclassing Barcelona and Manchester United in the Spanish and European Super Cups.

Talisman Cristiano Ronaldo has managed only one goal in the league this season, but perhaps more worrying for Zidane is the team’s apparent lack of fighting spirit, which helped Madrid come back so often in 2016-17.

Real are third in the Liga standings and eight points behind leaders Barcelona. They have never won the league after falling that far adrift of the pacesetters.

Ronaldo said after the defeat to Tottenham that Real was missing the experience of departed players Pepe, James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata, although he believes they will soon reverse their current drop in form.

“We admit that we aren’t playing well but things change. I’m sure we won’t be like this for much longer, football allows you to be described as brilliant one day and awful the next, and we need to stay positive,” the Portuguese striker told reporters.

Barcelona, who host fifth-placed Sevilla at the Nou Camp on Saturday, have won nine and drawn one in La Liga this season but also had a disappointing week in the Champions League.

They were held to a goalless draw at Olympiakos where they lost Sergi Roberto and Andre Gomes for around a month to injury, leaving them short in midfield, with captain Andres Iniesta also out.

Valencia, who are also unbeaten and four points behind Barca in second spot, host Leganes, while Deportivo La Coruna welcome Atletico Madrid, who are looking to rebound after their woeful Champions League draw with Qarabag which left them on the verge of elimination.

 

 

Source: Super Sport

Zidane Hails Bale, Ronaldo For Real’s Win

Real Madrid’s coach Zinedine Zidane praised goal-scorers Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, who netted twice in a 3-1 victory as Real Madrid finally claimed a Champions League win at Borussia Dortmund.

Christiano Ronaldo marked his 150th European game with second-half goals after Bale’s stunning early volley gave Real the lead at Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored Dortmund’s consolation goal with just over half an hour left, but the Germans were simply out-played by holders Real.

Having also netted twice against APOEL, Ronaldo has now scored four goals in just two Champions League games this season.

“I’m happy for Cristiano… again! I’m delighted for Ronaldo and Bale,” said Zidane.

This is the first time Dortmund have lost at home to Real in seven European games while holders Madrid have now scored in 38 successive Champion League games.

“It is difficult to play in this stadium, we have never won here, so this victory was important to us, and the whole game was good for us from start to finish,” said Zidane.

“We had a lot of ball possession, that was the key.

“Dortmund played as impressively as ever, but we compensated well.”

Dortmund shaded possession and matched Real’s tally of 16 shots on goal and Zidane wanted to see more chances converted.

“We could have scored more. We had chances. The important thing is to score more than our opponents and we did that,” said the Frenchman.

“The side worked hard – Isco, (Luka) Modric, Casemiro and (Toni) Kroos were marvellous.

“Everyone was brilliant. It was a tremendous game.”

The result leaves the Real top of Group H, just ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, who beat APOEL 3-0 away, with Dortmund third and six points adrift of Spurs, who they also lost 3-1 to in London.

Dortmund coach Peter Bosz gave an honest appraisal of his team, who were better than Real in virtually every statistic – apart from the scoreboard.

“We defend with 11 players and we attack with 11 players,” said the Dutchman, whose Dortmund shaded possession and match Real’s 16 shots on goal.

“We were just too late against a side who barely made a mistake and we have to defend better.

“We didn’t put any pressure on the ball during the game and it’s difficult against an opponent like that.

“We were always too late, we have to analyse the performance and do better in the future.

Dortmund should have been awarded a penalty with 13 minutes gone when Real captain Sergio Ramos cleared Maximilian Philipp’s shot off the line and the ball deflected off his hand.

“That was clearly a handball in the first-half, but we deserved to lose,” admitted Bosz.

Zidane: Ronaldo Suggest Change Of Tactic In Subsequent Games

The Real Madrid Striker Cristiano Ronaldo has held talks with Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane after their shock defeat to Real Betis.

The poor performance in their last match, 1-0 reverse marked Real Madrid’s worst season start at home for over 20 years.

Ronaldo made his return from suspension for the game but failed to find a way past the Betis defense so also blowing their chance to beat Santos’ record of scoring in 73 consecutive games.

With tempers now eased, Diario Gol says Ronaldo has approached Zidane about his system and tactics this season.

Betis coach Quique Setien clearly out-thought his counterpart on the night and Ronaldo has suggested to Zidane that it is time to abandon their successful 4-4-2 formation and try something else.

 

Zidane Lead Nominees For FIFA Coach Prize

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane heads the list of 12 nominees for the FIFA men’s coach of the year award announced on Thursday.

Other candidates include Antonio Conte, who led Chelsea to the English title, Manchester United’s Europa League-winning coach Jose Mourinho and Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus.

Zidane has enjoyed a glorious year in charge of Madrid as they successfully defended the European Cup — the first team to do so in the Champions League era.

Real also won La Liga, the first time they had been champions of Spain and Europe in the same year since 1958.

He has won seven trophies since succeeding Rafael Benitez as coach of Madrid in January last year, including the UEFA Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup this month.

The prize — one of a new set of awards organized by FIFA following their split with Ballon d’Or organizers France Football magazine — will be handed over in London on October 23.

The shortlist for FIFA’s coach of the year prize

Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus/ITA), Carlo Ancelotti (Bayern Munich/GER), Antonio Conte (Chelsea/ENG), Luis Enrique (Barcelone/ESP), Pep Guardiola (Manchester City/ENG), Leonardo Jardim (Monaco/FRA), Joachim Loew (Germany), Jose Mourinho (Manchester United/ENG), Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG), Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Tite (Brazil), Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid/ESP)

First Defeat For Zidane Comes In Madrid Derby

Zinedine Zidane suffered his first defeat since taking charge of Real Madrid as Antoine Griezmann’s solitary strike kept Atletico Madrid’s faint La Liga title hopes alive with a 1-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Griezmann finished off a lovely team move eight minutes into the second half as Atletico became the first visiting team ever to win at the Bernabeu three seasons in a row.

Diego Simeone’s men move to within five points of leaders Barcelona while Real’s chances of landing just a second title in eight years now look completely gone as they now trail Atletico by four points in third.

Barca can restore their eight-point lead at the top when they face Sevilla on Sunday.

“Once again the fans of Atletico Madrid can feel immensely proud of their players,” said Simeone.

The final whistle was greeted by howls of discontent from the Real fans with chants for president Florentino Perez to resign.

“The league is over,” said Zidane.

“You can’t be happy with a defeat, with what happened and how we played.”