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Zidane doesn't dare leave out Cristiano


It was in the latter stages of the Madrid-Villarreal match when Cristiano tried a bicycle kick which didn't come off. Worse than that, he felt a twinge high up the back of his right leg and decided to depart from the field of play prior to any instructions being given to do so, or to the contrary. His actions were surprising: a player should not leave the pitch without first being advised to do so by his coach, or the arbitrator of the game, the referee. Cristiano walked off "taking French leave" as we say. No goodbyes, no justification. He was much more worried about the physical pain he was feeling.

Cristiano Ronaldo walks off past coach Zinedine Zidane at the end of the match against Villarreal.
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Cristiano Ronaldo walks off past coach Zinedine Zidane at the end of the match against Villarreal.JuanJo MartínEFE

Madrid were already 3-0 up by this point. Was Cristiano still needed on the field? This was a question posed to Zidane, who was frighteningly honest. "From time to time it's necessary that he doesn't finish a game. But he's a player who always wants to be involved, and gives his all. Sometimes it's very difficult for me." This confession puts Zidane in a confusing position. His sincerity is appreciated but it puts in doubt his authority. Could he not have taken Ronaldo off in the 75th minute, when it was already 3-0 and the outcome of the game decided? According to him, no.

And his predecessors were no different. In this case, however, it is not from presidential pressure, which there is for other things, but from the ambition of the player himself. Cristiano is a football, and golf, nut. He always wants to be playing. And he deserves it after seven years at Madrid with a flood of goals. In each and every season he has been a big part of Los Blancos scoring in excess of 100 goals - something that had only been done once before with La Quinta del Buitre. Who can therefore stop him? Zidane has said that he dare not to. Although at least he dares to confess this. This is maybe the first step.