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Zidane: “This isn’t an auditioning period, I put out the best team to win”

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Real Madrid CF v SD Huesca - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Real Madrid’s starting line-up for their Sunday night match against Huesca raised plenty of eyebrows, with the likes of Luca Zidane and Brahim Díaz starting; and with Raphaël Varane, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Marco Asensio having been left out the squad entirely for a rest.

Zinedine Zidane, though, has dismissed the suggestion that he is experimenting during this final stretch of the season. “No, there’s no auditioning,” he stated during his post-match press conference. “I try to put out the best team to win. After an international break, with some players playing two matches and travelling, why not give some of the players who have been here for the two weeks an opportunity? You’re not going to win trophies with 11 players. People may think that I just want to keep all of the players happy, but I don’t do that.”

Specifically, he was asked about the decision to start his son Luca Zidane in goal. “I am happy for him, for him to earn a victory,” he said. “He’s the third-choice goalkeeper. Courtois wasn’t fit and I wanted to give some rest to Keylor Navas. It turned out well.”

On the way the match played out, he labelled it “a crazy game and a nice one to watch”. “We can play much better, that’s clear,” said Zidane. “But we also must congratulate the opposition, who had a good match. They’re a team that deserve to have much more than they have in this league. They had a good performance and maybe deserved something. Football is a game of 90 minutes and we managed it in the end. We tried to the end and achieved a win.”

Finally, he was asked about the attendance, with it put to him that this was the second-lowest for a Real Madrid LaLiga match this season, and admitted that the lack of meaningful fixtures will have had an impact. “We need to accept that. We’re here and the fans are in control. If they want to come then we love that, but this year if we’re not going to win anything then that could be a factor.”