Zidane: "I don't see Gareth Bale leaving Madrid at this moment"
"Bale is with us and I plan to use him", the Real Madrid coach said today. As for the future of Mariano and Brahim, he said: "I’m not the person to ask about that".
Zinedine Zidane faced the media to look ahead to tomorrow's derby meeting with Atlético Madrid. The French coach, who spoke a little earlier than usual - before Madrid's morning training session, also answered a couple of questions about players who have been rumoured to be on their way out of the club - either in the January window or in the summer.
Do you think the crowd can be an extra player for Madrid in the derby? "Of course, as they always are. It's special because it's a derby but we love playing in front of our fans at the Bernabéu. They always give us support and that's just how we want it to be".
Would you need to leave a player who is performing well, for example Vinicius, Lucas or Rodrygo to give Gareth Bale the chance he has been missing lately? "We have 25 players in the squad and all of them are doing very well. But when it comes to putting the team together, I have to choose. The good thing about our squad is that everyone is involved, and every player tries to give the best of themselves. That's very important for me. But when you have 25 players and have to announce a list of just 18, obviously some players are going to be left out. That's one of the difficulties coaches have and something that will never change. All that matters to me is that all of my players are focused and ready to play".
Is Bale fit to play tomorrow? If he does play would it annoy one of his team mates? "I'm not going to reveal who will play tomorrow. The players have to be ready - and all of them are. After the session we'll publish the squad list".
Madrid's last defeat, to Mallorca in October
Madrid are unbeaten in three months, what's the reason for that? "There are a lot of reasons. Work and self-confidence. Believing in what we do. But the key word is work. That’s the way it is for us. Tomorrow’s match is another game for us and once again we will need to demonstrate we are doing things well".
Will Hazard be in the list? "We’ll see. He’s been training this week, gradually reincorporated into the squad's sessions. The good thing is that everyone wants to play. But I never risk players who are only just back from injury.
"I'm counting on Gareth Bale" says Zidane
The English press claim that Tottenham could sign Bale today. Would it be a blow if Bale left Madrid now? "Bale is with us, he's one of the members of my squad and I plan to use him. I'm not contemplating the possibility of him leaving".
Will Brahim and Mariano: "I’m not the person to ask about that. They are under contract and part of the squad. You need to ask someone else".
Bale's chances of playing in the derby: "All of the players are ready to play".
Do you understand the criticism Simeone has received in recent weeks: "It don't understand it but it’s what our job is all about. Simeone is one of the best coaches around – he’s always shown that and the current situation doesn’t change what I think about him, we all know the coach he is.".
Madrid haven't beaten Atlético at home in LaLiga since December 2012: "We try and win every game, that we haven't beaten them since 2012... it’s just what has happened for different circumstances. Tomorrow we have the chance to change that trend and we'll be trying to do that by scoring goals and not conceding any. It’s going to be a difficult game, what we want to see is a great game".
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