Zinedine Zidane spoke to the press ahead of Real Madrid’s Champions League first leg against Atlético at the Bernabéu on Tuesday night (kick-off 20:45 CET).
Semi-finals: “We’re not thinking about Cardiff, we’re just looking towards tomorrow’s game, which is going to a great one and a difficult one. We have to get through the game tomorrow before anything else. We have prepared well and we’re ready for the match. It’s that stage of the season now when everything is on the line. Everybody is focused and we’re ready to enjoy the run-in. I wish the game would start now.”
Two legs: “We know how important the first game is. We have to only think about this game and approach it as if there is no return leg. And we have to play well, from the first minute to the last. What we ask is the same as always: that the fans are behind us, as they were against Valencia, which helped us. It’s a boost for the side and we need it. We know what we have to do but the Bernabéu is always a huge help to the team.”
Zidane: "You can't live on the past"
Does it help that you’ve beaten Atlético before in the Champions League? “I don’t think so. The opposite, maybe. For us and for them it’s a semi-final over two games. We start tomorrow and we’ll be extra motivated because it’s a semi-final. You can’t live on the past because that’s what it is, in the past. It’s different now and they’ll do everything to go through.”
Have you spoken to Casemiro to tell him to be careful and have you looked at how to play with 10 men? “You think about it and the team will have to deal with it. It happens. It happened to us against Barça and it happened the other way around against Bayern. We know the importance of Casemiro to the side and we know how he plays, he is a strong player physically and he plays on the edge. I’m not going to tell him to change his game. He does what he has to do perfectly. The other day he got a card after 10 minutes but that can happen. If he can avoid it, he will.”
How do you see the game going? “We’re not favourites. It’s 50-50. We’ll give everything to win and that’s it, without thinking about the return leg. We have to think only about this game.”
"I'm not interested in my future. Nobody knows what will happen"
Zidane’s future: “I am concentrating only on the game tomorrow. I’m not even thinking about next Saturday. I don’t know what will happen and neither do you. I’m not interested.”
Varane: “He’s fine. We’re only missing Pepe. The other central defenders are available and I’m happy about that. It’s better to have them all.”
Conceding goals: “Teams aren’t creating chances against us easily but we’re not keeping clean sheets as we did last season. We have to try and prevent the other side from making life difficult for us by scoring goals. But often we don’t do that. The important thing is to score one more goal than the opposition.”
"Atlético's strength is that they never give up"
Atlético: “They’ve been very good for four or five years and they keep getting better. They always give us trouble. Their strength is that they never give up. They fight and they use their weapons. But we also have ours.”
Madrid compared to last year: “We’re definitely not worse than we were. Are we better? We’ll find out against Atlético.”
Cristiano: “I haven’t played with but I did play against him. His statistics are incredible. Ronaldo [Nazario] was also extraordinary. I’m jealous of them because I never had that number of goals in me. I just passed the ball.”
New ideas against Atlético: “We are going to try something new. There is always extra motivation. The little details will decide the tie. We know each other well. What we want is to see a great game of football.”