Real Madrid face Villarreal this Saturday in what will be a meaningless game for Los Blancos. However, coach Zinedine Zidane will give Cristiano Ronaldo and Carvajal some minutes to see where they’re at after recovering from their injuries just a week ahead of the crucial Champions League Final against Liverpool.
“Yes, it’s important for them to be there. I don’t think about negative things like the fact they could pick up injuries. We need to put in a good performance tomorrow, it’s important preparation for the final. Even if you’re training well, nothing can replicate the intensity, pressure and pace of a real football match. We’re pleased we can play tomorrow. Cristiano is 120% fit, he’s fine. He trained normally all week and he’s ready to play tomorrow, which is our last game before the final,” said Zidane.
The French coach will not use the match against Villarreal to try and test some of his ideas for the Final as both games will be quite different, he revealed.
“They’re completely different teams. Villarreal play out from the back, that’s not how Liverpool play. It’s crucial for us to play a good game, the last one in preparation for the final. Then we’ve got a week to get ready for that game, working on all the details. They’re two very different teams,” explained the coach.
Zidane was asked about his youngsters. Players like Ceballos, Llorente, Theo or Vallejo have not been used very often this season but the coach refuses to think that this will hurt their development.
“One year here is worth ten elsewhere, even if you play less. Training with the players we have here is not a wasted year. They’ve improved a lot. Every player wants to play more, but it’s been a very positive year. They’re young and next year we’ll see what we do with them. Some of them need to play 20 or 30 games and we’ll see what happens,” said Zidane.
Bale’s recent performances have been so good that some fans and journalists have been wondering whether he could actually be in the starting lineup against Liverpool. That’s not something Zidane wanted to address today, though.
“We’ve got a match tomorrow and then we’ll see. The good thing for me and for all the players is that they’re physically one hundred percent fit. I’m not going to tell anybody the line-up in Kiev until the game comes. Bale is playing better and training well. When a player is scoring goals, you can say he’s playing better. Physically, everyone looks great. It’s crucial to have everyone fit, I’m just disappointed for the guys who are going to miss out on these two games,” he explained.
The Champions League Final can’t come soon enough and Zidane and the rest of the coaching staff will surely be hoping to end the match against Villarreal without any injuries.