MADRID – Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane said on Tuesday that the return of Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo to team for its first UEFA Champions League game against APOEL gives the squad confidence.
Ronaldo had been handed a domestic five-match ban after pushing a referee during the Spanish Super Cup first leg.
“I prefer Cristiano to be with us always. We are not talking about dependency, what I want is to have all players ready and able to play,” Zidane said at a press conference prior to Wednesday’s match.
“He does not contribute with just goals. He is an important player in the squad, a leader who always wants to win and instills that among his teammates,” the former Real Madrid player added.
The coach said that Ronaldo was focused on the task ahead and was very happy to have the opportunity to play again.
“We are glad because he is in a good form both physically and mentally, despite all what happened and what has been said he is very good. I am happy to see him again on field,” he added.
The coach said that the squad was very excited to for the player’s return to try to defend its Champions League’s title, although the mission would not be easy.