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"Cristiano wanted to play but he knows it isn’t possible"

"I don’t see any problem with him playing every game, it’s what he always does and what he always wants to do. That’s great for a coach."

"Cristiano wanted to play but he knows it isn’t possible"

Zinedine Zidane spoke to the press ahead of Real Madrid’s match away at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday afternoon.

How is Ronaldo? “He won’t be playing tomorrow because he had a scan and although he hasn’t done anything serious he won’t be available tomorrow. We’ll take it day by day, the problem is he always wants to play but tomorrow he’ll have to stay at home. We’ll see how he is for Tuesday’s game.”

Did he ask to play against Rayo? “Yes, he wanted to play but he knows it isn’t possible. He felt something in the last game and now he has to concentrate on the game on Tuesday. I don’t think he would have played tomorrow if it was a final. It’s too risky.”

Do you think you’ll be the coach who makes him understand that he needs to rest from time to time? “It’s good to have a player who always wants to help the team and always wants to give his all, every time. That’s great for the team. In every bad thing there are always lots of good things.”

How is it possible that you can’t make him accept a rest? “I don’t think he’ll be tired at the end of the season, he’s fine. Things like the other day can happen sometimes but I don’t see any problem with him playing every game, it’s what he always does and what he always wants to do. That’s great for a coach. I think about the positives he brings to the team.”

Ramos would keep you on as manager. “Thanks. I played with Sergio and we have a very good relationship. He’s our captain and he knows this club like I do. What I have to do is everything possible so that the team plays well and wins matches.”

Rayo: “It will be a difficult game. It’s a small pitch and Rayo are a side who know how to play and they like to do so. They pressurize a lot. We know the ground we’re going to and it will be a complicated game, above all at the start. We are focused and in good shape, the team is in a good moment. There are three important points to play for tomorrow and we’re going to work hard to get them.”

Run-in: “We haven’t got the worst run-in, we’ve got the one we’ve got. There will be difficult games, we’ve got three away and one at home against Valencia, who are a good side. We’ve got four games left, we know what we have to do and we’re going to try and win them all.”

Managers in thrall to players: “Cristiano is undroppable because his statistics say so. He deserves to be undroppable. I don’t agree [with the statement]. You always have to talk to the players. People think players need rest sometimes, but his rest comes when he is not playing, and he’s bloody good at that as well.”

James: “I don’t see James in a run of bad form or anything. He’s an important player. It’s true that I have 24 players and I have to choose 11. Later I have to make changes but it seems as though we’re always expected to use three substitutes. If I see it as necessary because I need to change something then I will. James is important for us and the game he played, he played well and he scored. Of course he wants to play more and I agree with that. It’s the same with every player. My part in it is the most difficult job for a coach, when I have to make decisions.”

Paco Jémez’s criticism of Zidane not having his coaching badges: “I’m only concentrating on the game.”

Bale: “He’s better, he’s been training well. He’s recovered. The idea is that tomorrow he will be available for the team. We’ll see on Saturday.”

Who will replace Ronaldo? “All of the players are fit, I’ll decide tomorrow. I’ll play someone with similar characteristics to play on the wing.”

Varane: “I think he’s playing well. For me every game is important. He has shown that he can play for France as well. It’s true that when he was injured he struggled a bit when he came back, but he’s very focused and very professional. He always wants to improve. It’s extraordinary. He’s in good shape and I’m happy to have him available.


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