MADRID – Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane called on Saturday on his players to show commitment during the remaining three La Liga games and said although changes would be made for the next season most of the current squad will continue at the Santiago Bernabeu.
The French coach, who seemed more relaxed than at the previous press conference following the club’s defeat to Rayo Vallecano, asked his players to take the three games, starting with Sunday’s match against Villarreal, more seriously.
“There are three games to go and we’ve got to go out and play them. I’m fine, the other day I was very cross, as were the players. Don’t go thinking that they were fine with things. There are times when nothing goes for you, which was the case the other day,” he said.
“The good thing, among the bad things we’ve been through this season, is that we’ve got a game tomorrow to show what we’re all about,” he added.
“Nobody will take away our desire to play football away, it’s what the players like doing and we try and do that tomorrow,” he continued.
“We’re not going to go telling people that they have to change their opinions, this is just the way the season has gone. However, they need to think about next season because there are going to be some changes around here, but many of the players will stay put.”
Zidane said he hopes to continue winning at the Bernabeu, adding that he would like to make Madrid’s fans proud of all their players.
He touched on the situation of Wales forward Gareth Bale, who is widely expected to leave the club, and Brazil’s Vinicius, who is expected to stay on.
“(Bale) has to train and focus on playing. I can’t speak for Gareth or any other player. What I can tell you is that they’re players who know where they are and about the duty that we all have. I have to pick the team and we’ll have to see what we do tomorrow. I expect to see the best from all of the players, for them to give the best they’ve got. That’s what we train all week for and to pick up points at the weekend. I don’t see him playing as left wing-back,”” he added.
Asked about France’s Paul Pogba, he praised the midfielder, fueling reports about the Manchester United player joining Madrid.
“Pogba is a Manchester United player, he’s a very good one but he plays for Manchester United. We’ll see at the end of the season who goes and who stays. I didn’t say anything about us signing Pogba. I’m not going to say anything until things are done,” said Zidane.
Asked about Vinicius he said: “He hasn’t surprised me a bit. He’s training, he’s doing a lot better and he’s ready to be included in the squad list. He needed these few weeks to recover and this was the expected timeline.”
“He’s 18 years old, he could be my son. He’s very good and is really important for this team, particularly in terms of the future. His age isn’t a factor because usually you have to wait. He’s good, he deserves to be here and that’s all there is to it. After his injury we’ve got to take things slowly,” he said.