Playing down the Sevilla game
This moment had to come some time. And it came yesterday. For the first time in over 15 years, I didn’t believe Zidane. In his pre-match press conference ahead of Madrid’s return to the Sánchez Pizjuán, I asked him if he thought a win for Madrid tonight would represent a huge step towards clinching the league title. He answered with a resounding “no”, but I didn’t buy that answer because I’m almost certain that in his mind, and as a person with so much experience in football, he knows perfectly well that if Los Blancos come away with three points from this encounter it could be a pivotal moment.
Zizou's pre-match strategy
I don’t know if Zizou was being cautious, superstitious, politically correct or was simply trying to protect his players from complacency post-Sevilla. It’s because his decisions in recent days and some of the words he has useddeflect from the game at hand. Today is practically a final.
The big one
The rest he afforded to such key players as Cristiano, Modric and Benzema, who only played 15 minutes, in the Copa del Rey and the strategy deployed in the two games against Sampaoli’s men is a reflection of the date the Madrid boss has marked in his diary: Sunday 15 January. The same goes when he claims” we’re all going to be a little tense”, when he insists they won’t be playing for a draw or when he stresses that it’s first against second and his players will give it absolutely everything. Add a win in the Sánchez Pizjuán to another one in the Calderón and a point from the Camp Nou and that’s the stuff of champions.