Real Madrid failed to capitalise on Barcelona’s defeat and the draw between Sevilla and Atlético Madrid, as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Real Betis. Each of the top teams have struggled at points this season and Zinedine Zidane was asked if he thinks this is because the biggest clubs in Spain have lost something in recent years or if it’s a matter of the smaller teams improving.
“It’s a bit of both,” he said in response to that question in his post-match press conference. “It’s true that those at the top have all lost points. For me, this is the best league in the world. There is no easy match. That doesn’t exist and it’s getting more and more like this. Any team can cause you problems and that’s why it’s the best league in the world. It’s not easy to win a league title and that’s what makes winning one so nice.”
When analysing the victory, he made sure to praise the work that Real Betis did in the match: “We had an especially good first 45 minutes. What we lacked was a goal. It’s a shame, but I want to remember the positive parts. The other day we scored five goals, but today we couldn’t take our chances. The most important thing is creating chances. We have to remember that Real Betis did well, as they’re a good team with good players.”
There could have been a penalty at the end when the ball hit Zouhair Feddal’s hand inside the area, but Zidane left the judgement of that incident to the referee. “I saw a hand, but then you have to interpret it,” he said. “The referee didn’t check VAR, but he takes a decision and then you have to respect it. I don’t like to get involved in refereeing debates.”
The Frenchman was once again asked about the issue of players not in the squad leaving before the final whistle, with it put to him that Gareth Bale and James Rodríguez both departed during the final 10 minutes of normal time. Zidane, though, didn’t think this was a problem. “Both players came and supported their teammates before the match and that’s the most important thing,” he said.
Finally, Zidane confirmed that there was no injury issue surrounding the substitution off of Karim Benzema. He stated that the striker is perfectly fine.