Zinedine Zidane has described Sergio Ramos as one of the most inspiring footballers in LaLiga in the wake of the Real Madrid captain’s row with Sevilla.
The centre-back gestured to Sevilla fans after scoring a late penalty in the 3-3 Copa del Rey draw on Thursday, having become frustrated at the abuse he had received from some sections of the home support at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Sevilla have made an official complaint to the Spanish Football League (LFP) over Ramos’ behaviour, prompting Madrid to publish a statement in which they vowed to defend their captain’s interests.
Head coach Zidane has hailed Ramos as an important figure in Spanish football, although he is eager to bring the matter to a close.
“Above all, Ramos is our captain, he’s an example for everyone, not only for the dressing room,” he told a news conference ahead of Sunday’s league game against Sevilla. “He’s probably the most emblematic player in Spanish football.
“It’s in the past. We’re not going to talk much. Sevilla have asked for the same as us: the maximum respect for the players, not just Sergio. The fans just want to watch football. The subject is closed.”
It was put to Zidane that players should consider walking off if they are the target of abuse, following the example of Kevin-Prince Boateng, who led his AC Milan team-mates off the pitch after being subjected to racist chanting in a friendly against Pro Patria in 2013.
“What I would say to my players is always to keep playing, because, unfortunately, this will always happen,” he said. “If you have 90,000 people at a ground, some are not going to change. You can make all the campaigns you like, tell people how bad it is to say things, but it will happen.
“But it is something that really does affect football.”
Asked whether bans should be considered for ultra groups, he added: “I have a lot of things in my head and I don’t want to talk about it.”
Turning to Sunday’s encounter, which pits league leaders Madrid against second-place Sevilla, Zidane expects another tough game against a side who are unlikely to allow Madrid much time on the ball.
“Sevilla think the same – they want to play a great game and that’s what we all want to see,” he said.
“It’s first against second. They’ll make it difficult, like they did the other day. It’ll be tough. They want to win the game. We’re ready for it and we’ll see what happens.
“Having possession is the idea but Sevilla will make it difficult. We’ve prepared for the game, how we’re going to play, and we’ll see what happens. The important thing is to show desire, with personality.”
Cristiano Ronaldo was rested for Thursday’s Copa clash but Zidane expects the Portugal star to be fully refreshed.
“He’s come back to the team and he’s good – he’s very good,” he said. “He’s worked a lot this week because he had Friday to rest.”
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