Zinedine Zidane attended the international press this afternoon to preview Real Madrid's Champions League meeting with Tottenham. When asked about the spectacular form Isco has been showing in recent games, the coach was full of praise for the midfielder and confirmed that goalkeeper Keylor Navas is now fully fit.
How can the team remain strong at home? “Through hard work. We always want to compete well as a team and that's what we are working towards - we are here to achieve things. Now we're back in the Champions League, and we're up against a very good rival and that motivates us”.
"Isco is my kind of player" - Zidane
Isco says he's now playing where feels comfortable. What's changed? “It's simple. It's his natural progression. He knows that he's an important player for this club; what Isco has is that, every time he is given the chance to play, he's better than his last game. He's also able to play in several different positions - obviously, his best position is when he is close to the forwards. It all depends on who were are playing against and which formation we use but the most important thing is that he's improving - he's improving because he is a good player, that's all there is to it”.
You have been criticized for rotating the team... “I can't do anything about what other people think or say. I just have to do my job as best as I can and not do anything stupid. People are entitled to their opinion but it won't change the way I do my job”.
Would you put Isco as the third candidate for the Ballon d'Or? “I'm not going to say who the three candidates should be. The Ballon d'Or is something else - it's about who the people vote for… I really like Isco a lot because he is a creative player. He's never afraid to try and pull something off and players who are willing to try are always successful”.
Zidane compliments noble, straight-talking Ramos
How do you see Ramos dealing with Harry Kane? “We could spend an hour talking about Sergio. He's our captain, our leader on and off the pitch. Sergio's best qualities are the ones which aren't related to football. He's got everything, and what he's doing says everything about him, he's a phenomenon. But especially as a person. He's a very noble man. If he has to say something, he'll tell you to your face and I like that in a person. He's direct. He came here aged 20 and I spent a year and a half playing alongside him and he has not changed at all in that time. And he's still here and that speaks volumes…. his duel with Kane? We know Kane's a good player who is in great form but Tottenham isn't just about Harry Kane, they are a very good team and we are going to prepare thoroughly for this game”.
Keylor: “He's back training with us, he's working well, without any discomfort”.
Fans will enjoy Madrid-Spurs spectacle, says Zidane
Madrid's first real test of the season: “Every game is a test for us. We have two games against Tottenham, two very difficult games. I think the fans are going to enjoy these meetings”.
Harry Kane: “I don't know what the future holds for him. He's a key player for Tottenham. He's very good in everything he does. The best thing about him is that he is always thinking about the opposing goal. He's an all-round player, very complete”.