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Zidane not leading revenge mission in Clasico

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane does not believes his players will have revenge on their minds when they travel to Barcelona in Saturday’s Clasico.

Madrid were thrashed 4-0 by their great rivals at the Santiago Bernabeu in November, a result that hastened the downfall of Zidane’s predecessor Rafael Benitez.

Zidane has overseen five straight wins in all competitions since February’s 1-0 derby defeat to Atletico Madrid but accepts facing a Barcelona side 10 points better off than his own at the top of La Liga represents a significant challenge.

“The players know perfectly well what happened [in the previous Clasico],” the Frenchman told his pre-match news conference. “Revenge? No, it’s just a game we want to win.

“We’re on a good run, playing well lately. We keep doing our work. I want to see my team playing as they have been doing lately.

“I will sleep the same as always tonight. I will enjoy tomorrow – my first Barca-Madrid match as a coach. I want to enjoy it.

“It’s a football game. We must remember that and enjoy it – a chance to play against good players and test yourself against Barcelona.

“It is not easy to beat Real Madrid. I want to see a good game of football and my team winning.

“On paper, maybe it’s a different game. But we will not change anything. We will prepare well and start the game strongly.

“For a player, El Clasico is the most beautiful game that exists in football. I’m happy now to live it as a coach.”

Madrid will be without defender Raphael Varane due to a calf problem, but Toni Kroos will be available despite needing treatment after a training ground challenge with Jese Rodriguez on Friday.

“He’s okay, I think he was more in a state of shock,” Zidane said of the Germany midfielder. “The pain was over after training. He will be with us tomorrow.”

Fri 1 Apr, 2016
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