Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane talked to the press ahead of the team’s visit to the Camp Nou —Sunday, 20:45 CET— and explained why his players will not give Barcelona a guard of honour after Messi and Co. conquered La Liga last weekend.
“They didn’t give us a guard of honour and, with all my respect, we won’t be giving them one because they didn’t give us one. We have respect for what Barcelona have done, they’ve won La Liga, which, as I’ve always said, is the most difficult thing to do. I congratulate them and that’s a show of my respect. It’s a personal decision and is nothing to do with the club. I’m not going to break with tradition but we’re not going to go and do something that they didn’t,” said Zidane.
“Some people have said that it was because they weren’t involved in the competition, but to compete in the Club World Cup you have to win the Champions League and we’re all involved in the Champions League,” he added.
Varane and Isco completed Saturday’s training session with the squad and it looks like they could be available for the game, although Zidane will not risk them considering that they must be ready to go when Los Blancos play the Champions League Final in Kyiv.
“Varane and Isco are fit enough to travel tomorrow and we’ll see whether there are any changes to the status of any of the players this afternoon,” he explained.
“[On injuries] It’s not something that I think about, if I did there would be no point in playing tomorrow. We need to play as we always do and try to give our all. If anyone isn’t 100% fit they won’t play, but the rest of them will,” he added.
Even if Los Blancos have nothing to play for in La Liga, this El Clasico is still important for both teams.
“The La Liga title is done and dusted for this season and there’s less excitement surrounding the game, which is perfectly normal. That’s the way of things before the match, but when it kicks off I don’t imagine that there’ll be any lack of excitement,” said Zidane.