REAL MADRID

Zidane: "Real Madrid might be a better team without me"

The Real Madrid coach confirmed that Sergio Ramos will play in Sunday's final game against Villarreal but ruled out Eden Hazard once again.

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Zinedine Zidane, entrenador del Real Madrid, en rueda de prensa.

Zinedine Zidane took questions from the media on Friday afternoon to look ahead to the final game of the 2020/21 LaLiga season in which his Real Madrid play host to Villarreal on Saturday. For Madrid, it will be their last chance to clinch the title - but for that to happen, they must win their match and hope Valladolid do them a favour by beating Atlético

Benzema's recall by France. Did you have any part in the decision? "No, but I'm very happy that Karim is back with the national team. It was what he wanted and I'm happy for him. He has always done great things out on the pitch. I hope that all of us can enjoy his game".

Could Madrid be a better side without you as coach? "Sure, no doubt about it at all".

If you were Spain coach, would you take Ramos to the Euros? "I'd always take Sergio, whatever happens. He's a player who always gives everything".

Have you made a decision about your future? "It's always the same question. I'm not going to answer that. We have a game tomorrow and that is all that matters to us".

What are your feelings as the season comes to an end - tiredness, relief...? "No, not this time. I came back here full of energy and I have given everything. You know that this is a difficult job, we have to perform every day. We are lucky to be at a great club. I make the most of every moment. After a season like this, the only thing I am thinking about is getting a little rest. But we are full of hope".

"A while ago, you, the media, criticised me a lot; I know that's part of football. All I asked what that you let us do our work. That was important. We are the defending league champions. The players deserve to be able to work and we can judge how the season went when it's over. We changed situation by working together, and now the season will be decided on the final day. We live for moments like this and we will do the best we can".

What will Madrid have lacked if you don't win LaLiga? "I don't think you can find fault with my players at all. We've had injuries, Covid, a lot of things... You can always do things better and I am always very critical with myself. I am a winner and I don't like losing. In my life, I fight and give everything I have to win. The players want ti win too".

Will Ramos be available to play tomorrow? "Yes, he'll be with us. You'll see him tomorrow".

How is Hazard? "He's got something. It's not important, but we don't want to risk him. If he didn't train today, it's because he has some kind of issue. But that's all. He won't play tomorrow".

If the Bernabéu was able to host fans, and they showed you how they feel, would that influence you? "It would, it always has. The people have always been affectionate with me. And I have tried to pay them back by giving everything I've got for Real Madrid. Madrid is the best thing that has happened to me in my life. Of course I would feel it".

The players want you to continue. How do you feel about that? "I love my players very much. Out on the pitch, they have saved me - in as much that they have given all they have got in every game. That they think that of me is really nice for a coach to hear".