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Real Madrid: Zidane, Ramos' Champions League press conference

Real Madrid: Zidane, Ramos' Champions League press conference

Zidane and Ramos' pre-Manchester City press conference - as it happened


And that concludes Zidane's press conference!

Many thanks for reading, and be sure to join us for Real Madrid's Champions League clash with Manchester City tomorrow night. We'll be bringing you live-text coverage starting about an hour before the game's 21:00 CET kick-off.

Will Hazard have an operation on his injured ankle?

Zidane: "I don't know whether he's going to have an operation or not. All I know is that he's not happy. Getting injured again after so long out isn't positive at all for him, or for the team."

Could Madrid's Champions League semi-final win over Bayern in 2014 be a roadmap towards beating Guardiola's side again this time?

Zidane: "I'm not going to tell you anything, mate. Nothing about what we could do or will do..."

Hazard's reaction to latest injury blow:

Zidane: "Eden likes to play football, and he isn't going to be able to right now. I can tell you what I see in his eyes: he's not happy. Right now it's a difficult time for him, and it's going to be that way for a few days. You can imagine how he's feeling."

Dealing with a side like Manchester City who like to have a lot of possession:

Zidane: "There are lot of teams who like to have the ball. Every side you play against is always going to have certain strengths, and it's our job to cancel them out. City are a side with many strengths, including possession. But it's also about what we do - that's what we're interested in."

Guardiola the best coach in the world:

Zidane: "He's shown it at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City. There are a lot of [top] coaches, but I think it's him."

Eden Hazard injury:

Zidane: "He's annoyed, he's not happy. We're all sad about his injury, he wanted to get back playing and show what he can do, but he has got injured again."

"Special week"

Zidane: "We know it's a special week. What the players want to do is play these types of games."

Zidane vs Guardiola:

Zidane: "It's Real Madrid vs Manchester City, not Zidane vs Guardiola. What people want to see is a game of football between Madrid and City. It's an attractive game."

Overcoming indifferent recent results:

Zidane: "What we have to do is put in a good performance. It's all about that. We have to focus on what we've been doing well, not on one or two bad results. We're playing well and we have to put in a good display tomorrow."

Manchester City match:

Zidane: "What we want is for our fans to be proud of us. We have to give our all, we know how important the game is and how special it is, and we want to give the supporters something to shout about."

Out comes Zidane!

While we wait for Zidane, here are a couple of Ramos questions that I failed to bring you:

Do you feel you're picked on by Spanish referees and get on better with European officials?

"I perhaps wouldn't say picked on. The refereeing philosophy in Europe is different to Spain, they're more lenient with certain things. I've been sure to look after my relationship with the referees and, apart from what happened most recently, which I think is personal, I think I have a good relationship with the referees [in Spain]."

Knocking out former Barcelona boss Guardiola:

"I have a lot of respect for him. He's a top coach with a lot of experience, and his achievements speak for themselves. What we're motivated by is [trying to win] the Champions League."

That's your lot from Ramos. Zidane up next...

Zidane impact on team ahead of big games:

Ramos: "The gaffer knows how to deal with the nerves [that the squad might feel ahead of the clash]. We're going to try not to get knocked out in this first knockout round and recent history is on our side in that regard, but we know we're up against really tough opposition. We just have to be ourselves, show plenty of character and go out there without fear."


Ramos: "Well, this badge brings pressure with it. That comes with being a Real Madrid player and is what makes this such a great club."

Anxiety over profligacy in front of goal?

Ramos: "In the games we haven't won we've done well, we have to look at what we've done badly and keep on trying to improve. We can't be anxious if the goals don't come [against City]... but Real Madrid don't tend to let teams off the hook in front of goal for more than one game."

Improving at the back:

Ramos: "We'll try to get back to the way we were playing [at the back] in the games before [Madrid's indifferent recent results]. But it's not just a question of the defence. We win together and we lose together."

Business end of the season:

Ramos: "There's no room for error. We're in a crunch week and this is where the men get sorted from the boys."

Could Bale benefit from Hazard's absence?

Ramos: "If the coach wants to turn to a colleague, we're all available to him. There's good competition for places and it's a positive problem for the coach to have plenty of options to choose from."

City first leg:

Ramos: "The team are in high spirits despite the bad recent results. It's going to be a tough game and for those of us who like this kind of game, it's going to be a special night."

Contract situation:

Ramos: "You [the media] have been talking about this a lot of late, but the club and I are in a great moment in our relationship and I'm sure the renewal will come. Right now, the most important thing to focus on is LaLiga and the Champions League."

Should Madrid have signed a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo when he left?

Ramos: "It's a bit opportunistic to talk about goal-shyness now [after one game in which Madrid failed to score]."

Manchester City clash:

Ramos: "This is a chance to send out a statement. There's no time to feel sorry for ourselves - the results will come."

Real Madrid's recent dip in form:

Ramos: "Football comes down to results. The team hasn't changed much, we played well [in the defeat] against Levante but weren't able to put the ball in the back of the net."

Returning to Champions League action:

Ramos: "For me it's a privilege to play in the Champions League, because it's a hugely exciting competition and one that really motivates you."

Press conference underway!

The press conference gets underway - and captain Sergio Ramos is the player joining Zidane in front of the media.

Ramos is up first.


Zidane unbeaten in Champions League knockout ties

Despite Real Madrid's recent wobble, though, the fact remains that Zidane is a coach who has not yet lost a Champions League knockout tie across his two spells as Bernabéu boss...

Levante defeat made all the worse by Hazard injury blow

And to make things worse, Los Merengues lost Eden Hazard to another ankle fracture at the Ciutat de Valencia, just two games after the Belgian had returned from the same kind of injury.

Hazard now faces another two months out at least, ruling him out of the City tie and - if they get there - the quarter-finals and, most likely, the semis too.

Goal-shyness a Real concern

In Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Levante, Madrid showed a level of profligacy in front of goal that has once more raised concerns over the club's failure to adequately replace the 50 a season that Cristiano Ronaldo took with him when he left for Juventus in 2018.

"Karim Benzema is a number 10 with a number nine on his back," wrote Tomás Roncero in AS on Monday, "and it is simply unbelievable that the club did not face up to that reality and seek out a proven goal-getter when they decided to sell Cristiano".


Madrid host City fresh from losing top spot in LaLiga

Back at the start of February, Real Madrid were unbeaten in 21 games, three points clear at the top of LaLiga and still entertaining notions of a clean sweep of major trophies this season. The Spaniards had every reason to feel really rather bullish about their chances against Pep Guardiola's City.

Fast forward two and a half weeks, however, and Zidane's men are feeling somewhat less full of themselves, having been knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Real Sociedad and relinquished top spot in LaLiga, after collecting just one point from games against Celta Vigo and Levante.

(Photo: Maria Jose Segovia / AFP / Europa Press)

Zidane's Real Madrid vs Manchester City pre-match press conference: ¡bienvenidos!

Good afternoon!

We're about to hear from Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane ahead of the first of two games that will have a major bearing on the success or failure of Los Blancos' season.

Before facing arch rivals Barcelona in a top-of-the-table LaLiga clash at the Bernabéu on Sunday, Madrid host Manchester City tomorrow night in the first leg of the Champions League last 16, and Zidane is due to give his pre-City press conference at 13:00 CET - so in about half an hour's time.

This being a Champions League press conference, Zidane will be joined by one of his players; I must confess I am as yet unaware of the identity of said player, though.


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