Cristiano Ronaldo is extra motivated as Real Madrid enter a pivotal week of their season, according to head coach Zinedine Zidane.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo has fallen below his usually prolific goalscoring standards this season, with Madrid’s title defence in LaLiga coming in woefully below par at this stage – they lie fourth, 19 points shy of leaders Barcelona.
Madrid host Real Sociedad on Saturday before welcoming Paris Saint-Germain to the Santiago Bernabeu in midweek for the type of mouth-watering Champions League showdown Ronaldo, who turned 33 this week, has long relished.
“He’s extra motivated this season. He wants to show what he is capable of,” Zidane told reporters at a pre-match news conference where he strained, often in vain, to bring the conversation back to Sociedad and away from PSG.
“I’m not concerned, I’m not worried. He is an outstanding footballer
“There have been some times this season when he hasn’t been able to get on the scoresheet but he is there when needed
“On the big stage he performs. We’ve got a game on Saturday. That’s the one I’m concerned about and then we will look ahead to Wednesday’s game.”
33!Thank you all for your birthday messages pic.twitter.com/YUJGDZCsAe
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) February 5, 2018
Madrid fans voted Wales forward Gareth Bale their player of the month for Janaury but the other member of their famous attacking trident, Karim Benzema, has fallen on hard times in terms of form and goals.
“I think we all have pressure. We’re all in this together,” Zidane replied when asked about the French striker, who has a paltry two LaLiga goals to his name this season.
“We all just need to contribute more to the team, and Benzema also.
“We have to do the talking on the pitch.”
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