Thursday, March 30, 2017

Zidane wants fans behind Madrid after latest Ronaldo whistles

SoccerNews in La Liga 24 Jan 2017

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Zinedine Zidane has urged Real Madrid’s fans to stick with the team after the latest instance of Cristiano Ronaldo being whistled at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Madrid ended a winless run of three matches by edging to a 2-1 home victory over Malaga on Saturday to preserve their slender advantage over Sevilla and Barcelona at the top of LaLiga.

But, not for the first time, a smattering of the locals felt four-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo fell below the lofty standards expected of him.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s Copa del Rey trip to Celta Vigo, where Madrid must attempt to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit to reach the semi-finals, Zidane was reluctant to be drawn on the matter.

“I’m not saying anything about that,” he said, having experienced similar barbs himself as a player after becoming a world-record signing for Madrid from Juventus in 2001.

“We’re working hard. We want to give everything so that the people who come to help us… we both want the same thing, to give everything to win things.

“I’m not going to say [it is] fair or unfair. There are always whistles in this stadium, that’s not going to change.

“The only thing that I am going to say is that we need the fans. That’s obvious. We need them with us.”

Zidane confirmed Ronaldo is ready to play in Vigo despite suffering a minor knock versus Malaga.

“I’m thinking about the game,” he said. “If he’s okay, and I think he is going to be okay, he will be with us.

“The knock he had is just a knock. Something that’s been bothering him until now, but he’s okay.

“It’s not an injury, it’s a knock and he will be okay.”

With Ronaldo in the latter stages of his career, speculation over who might become Madrid’s next superstar forward is rife.

Nevertheless, Zidane decided the eve of a major cup tie was no time to discuss the merits of his compatriot and Atletico Madrid favourite Antoine Griezmann.

“Do you think today is the day to talk about that?” he said. “I’m thinking about other things – I’m talking about the game.

“I can talk to you about my players, that’s what I’m talking about.

“Is he a good player? Yes, he’s a good player – is that what you wanted to hear?”

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