MADRID – Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane on Friday warned his players that the upcoming match against Barcelona would be the most difficult of the season.
However, Zidane explained that Saturday’s Real Madrid-Barcelona clash would not be decisive in the fight for the La Liga title.
“You have to think positively. We’re very good and better in each area of the field. Even if we lose, the league will not be over,” Zidane said at a press conference on the eve of the highly anticipated match.
Fresh off winning the 2017 FIFA Club World Cup, La Liga defending champion Real Madrid is scheduled to host leader Barcelona on Saturday. Real Madrid, in fourth place, aims to close the 11-point-gap with Barça, which has yet to lose a league game.
“It’ll be the most difficult game of the season because Clasicos are always beautiful and difficult but that’s what we like. The players play for these types of games and are always thinking about these games,” Zidane stated.
He confirmed Real’s forward star Cristiano Ronaldo was in good shape despite missing the team training in recent days due to discomfort in his right calf during the 1-0 win over Gremio in the FIFA Club World Cup final earlier this month.
The coach refused to comment on possible talks over Ronaldo’s potential new contract.
“For what he has done and what Cristiano Ronaldo is to this club, he deserves all the respect from the club and he has it. After the holidays we’ll talk about that, but the important thing is Saturday’s game,” Zidane stressed.