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Zidane not sold on Ronaldo as number nine despite derby hat-trick

Zinedine Zidane says Cristiano Ronaldo will not necessarily stay as a central striker despite his hat-trick against Atletico Madrid on Saturday.

Real Madrid triumphed 3-0 at the Vicente Calderon thanks to three goals from the Portugal captain, who surpassed Alfredo Di Stefano’s tally of 17 to become to highest scorer in the history of the derby.

Zidane set out his side in a 4-4-2 formation, with Ronaldo deployed in the number nine role just in front of Isco, and he enjoyed one of his best all-round performances of the season as he combined clinical finishing with an effective pressing game.

But despite Ronaldo’s display setting the tone for a terrific all-round Madrid showing, Zidane says he is not certain to remain in that position in future.

“It’s not definitive. He was comfortable, we know that, but we’ll see how things are for every match,” he told a news conference after Madrid went four points clear at the top of LaLiga.

“It was a huge game from the beginning against a tough opponent. We interpreted the game very well and we started strong.

“I’m happy with what we did. It’s not easy; there are few teams who will win 3-0 here.

“The first 45 minutes were phenomenal, then we suffered a little, which is logical, but after those 10 minutes we carried on without losing the ball and with the necessary intensity against an opponent who are always difficult on this pitch.

“Maybe 3-0 is a bit hard on them, but we did very well. We have to keep doing what we’re doing. We’ve won nothing yet.”

Isco likewise delivered one of his stand-out performances this term after being handed a surprise start in a role just behind Ronaldo.

“He didn’t lose the ball once. That position behind Cristiano is the best for him,” said Zidane.

He added: “I’m happy with the efforts of everyone, we defended together and we all had a great energy – even Sergio Ramos on the bench! He didn’t look one hundred per cent and I’m not in favour of taking risks with the players.”

Sat 19 Nov, 2016
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