In the final press conference before Real Madrid take the field against Club Brugge on Wednesday night, Zinedine Zidane addressed the media with a few nuggets.
There has been some talk in media circles about Zidane’s decision to take Casemiro and Benzema to Belgium while dropping Mariano. Zidane does not see this game as meaningless as others do.
“The message is always the same and that’s that we want to put in a good performance,” the Frenchman said. “That’s all there is to it. I don’t like friendly games. It’s a Champions League game and our reputation is on the line. We always want to play good football and keep our good run going. Not on account of the result, which is down to our good performances, but because we want to play well and do things properly. If we don’t approach it in that way, things will go badly”.
When asked about Benzema’s involvement, Zidane applied we may say the French striker take the pitch: “He’s here with us and you’ll see tomorrow how we line up. Karim has the ambition to always want to be in the team and play”.
Casemiro, perhaps less so.
“We know just how important he is and that he’s had a lot of game time,” Zidane said of the Brazilian defensive midfielder. “But a coach has to name his squad and think about a particular game. We know how important he is, but there are also many other players who’ve played a lot of football and that includes those who’ve played games with their national teams”.
Zidane also said he has no updates on whether the Clasico will go ahead as schedule amid the political climate in Catalunya.
“I don’t know anything about El Clásico and the only thing that I and everyone else is interested in is tomorrow night’s game. The only thing in our heads is tomorrow’s game. Everything else will come in time and there’ll be time to take about that”.
”There are some things that you can’t control. The only thing we can control is the football. There are a lot of opinions and I’m not going to get involved in that. After this game we have three more matches before the end of the year, but right now the most important game is tomorrow night’s”.
When asked about whether he’s ever experienced ‘fear’ stepping onto a pitch, Zidane said, “I’ve never been scared on a football pitch. I’ve never felt that way when the game starts. I’ve never felt afraid of playing when we’re on the pitch, never”.