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Pre-game quotes, UEFA Champions League 2017-18: Zidane, Asensio, Bale, and Pochettino speak to media

Bale says he “could” celebrate against Tottenham should he score against them

Real Madrid Training Session Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Tuesday quote round-up is here. Today, everything revolves around Real Madrid’s Champions League opener against APOEL, as well as some words from a rival’s manager...

Zinedine Zidane says Real Madrid are not dependant on Ronaldo

"You know who Cristiano is," Zidane said in the pre-match presser. "We cannot talk about a dependency, but I always want him to be with us.

"What interests me is that everyone can play. Cristiano brings not only goals, but is a leader as well and he always wants to win. He transmits that [to his team-mates]. We are all happy that he is with us.

"He's very focused on what he has to do. In addition, he is very happy to play again because it is what he likes, what makes him happy.

"And we are happy too, because he is mentally very well, physically very fine. I am very happy to see him on the pitch again.

"He's going to play tomorrow, but we're not going to have him on Sunday. I hope Sunday is the last game of the season that he is not here."

Mauricio Pochettino emphasizes that Tottenham are here to challenge Real Madrid

"I think Wednesday is so important, to start well in the competition and get the three points will be key to the future," Pochettino said in the pre-match presser.

"In theory it should be Real Madrid first and the others trying for second, but football is not about theory. Our ambition is to win every game.

"Real Madrid are on a different level: they won the last two Champions Leagues so it's a different reality. I think it'll be a very competitive group.

"Last season after the first game against Monaco it was difficult to change the dynamic. It's so important to try to win the game. It will be tough, Dortmund are a great team, but in our mind our mentality is to win and be aggressive from the start.

"Last season was our first experience in the Champions League... It was a very painful experience because we couldn't be at the level we needed to be, but now that's not an excuse."

When asked about rivalling Real Madrid, Pochettino said: "Now we need experience,"

"We need to challenge them. Remember - we had to reduce gap to the top-four sides, now we're fighting again to reduce the gap with these type of clubs in the Champions League.

"This season will be a very good season for us to challenge them and show our reality."

Gareth Bale says he “could” celebrate against Tottenham should he score against them

"I scored against Spurs in a pre-season game a couple of years ago and I didn't really celebrate then," Bale told the Daily Mail.

"I suppose it depends on how you feel on the day. If it's a 91st-minute winner, can you control yourself? That's the question."

"I remember playing against Real Madrid when I was still at Tottenham and 'Crouchy' [Peter Crouch] being sent off after only 15 minutes and that killed the game for us.

"All my friends are still Tottenham fans. That is their team in the Premier League and I will certainly have a lot of ticket requests."

Marco Asensio answers questions about his left foot, choosing Spain over the Netherlands, and his happiness in being at Real Madrid rather than elsewhere

On a call from Ruud...

"I was called by Van Nistelrooy to play for Netherlands," Asensio told Cope.

"I talked to him for a while, then he passed me to the head coach and he told me that they wanted me at all costs.

"[But] I really did not hesitate [in committing to Spain]."

On his left foot...

"Zidane told me that since Messi, he had never seen a left foot like mine," he told COPE.

"I was a little impressed, because Messi is a piece of a footballer."

"We thought it was strange that Neymar left Barcelona," he said.

"He was an important player for them and they couldn't hold onto him. It seemed a bit strange."

On being at Real Madrid rather than PSG or Barca...

"I don't know how much I'm worth... I guess what my [release] clause says," he told COPE.

"If I would go to PSG? No, not really, because I'm very happy here."

"I started with the first team of Mallorca and Barca appeared," Asensio said.

"The end is the destination, not Barca, and I was delighted to be at Real Madrid and to defend this shirt.

"When Horacio called me and told me Real Madrid were interested, I said I just wanted to play there."

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