Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane expects Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema to line up against Manchester City in Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final at the Etihad Stadium.
Ronaldo sat out the 3-2 Liga win at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday due to a thigh complaint, while Benzema limped out of the contest shortly before half-time after taking a blow to the knee.
Both players were named in Madrid’s travelling party and, speaking ahead of his team’s Monday training session in Manchester, Zidane stated his confidence that they would recover in time.
“The idea is that we want them to play tomorrow, of course, but we have the last training session now and we will see,” he said.
“They’re absolutely fine at the moment, they’ve recovered really, really well.
“We’ll test everything but the idea is that they’ll play.”
Zidane added: “I think they’ve got to be 100 per cent fit and I think they will be. They’re fine today.
“They are players who look after themselves physically. My idea is that they are both going to be fit to play.”
Madrid’s Clasico win over Barcelona at the start of April served to derail their bitter rivals and Zidane’s men are now unexpectedly in the thick of a three-way title race domestically.
The former France star believes this has brought the best out of his squad ahead of their latest assignment in England.
“We’re here now in a decent vein of form, probably the best of the season – even in games like the last ones where we lost Cristiano and Karim,” he said.
“We’re all coming here in good form and with just about everyone fit.
“We have to play against the opposition that we face. I’m convinced we can do a good job if we stay united.”
City are playing in their first Champions League semi-final versus the 10-time European champions but Zidane expects a close contested affair against a team he worries has the capability to hurt his own
“I see this as 50-50 to each team. Our plan is to go out on the field and score a goal. Our mentality is to win,” he added, with memories of a first-leg 2-0 quarter-final defeat at Wolfsburg still fresh – Madrid’s only slip-up in the past 12 matches.
“City, if you leave them space, they can hurt you in that space. Their players get between the lines and cause you problems. What we have to do tomorrow is stop that happening and stop them hurting us in those areas.”
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