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Zidane: “This Osasuna match will be different because of the weather”

The coach also reflected on his coronavirus scare. 

Real Madrid v RC Celta - La Liga Santander Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane spoke to the media ahead of Real Madrid’s trip to Pamplona, a trip that has been brought forward to Friday night. The squad was due to travel on Saturday morning, ahead of the Saturday night game against Osasuna, but Storm Filomena has altered the travel plans.

Asked about the adverse weather, Zidane said: “I think this might be the first time this kind of thing is happening in Spain with this weather and we don’t know exactly what’ll happen tomorrow. Our groundskeepers here, for example, put in a lot of work today just for us to be able to train as normal. Well, as normal as it could be with the weather. We all hope that we can play tomorrow and that the pitch will be good enough to play on. We don’t know what’ll happen tomorrow. We’ll travel today and prepare as always. If something happens then we’ll see. I’m sure this will be a different match because of what’s happening. We’ll see if we can play and, if not, then we won’t play and that’s that. We’ll follow the rules and do what we have to do.”

Zidane was asked if the state of the pitch would affect his selection choice. He replied: “It doesn’t change much. The weather is what it is and the players are used to playing. Players like Eden Hazard are used to it, he was in London. But, this isn’t something we’ll consider. You’ll see tomorrow who’ll play.”

It’s not just the weather that has affected Real Madrid’s preparations, as Zidane also had to miss training on Thursday because a close contact had returned a positive COVID-19. In the end, the coach tested negative and can be with the team. But, he was asked if his preparations had been affected by this uncertainty. He replied: “I wasn’t sure, but I returned a negative test. We were prepared for if something else had happened, but in the end I was able to be with the team today and I can be with the team tomorrow.”

One positive thing about this week of preparation is that Real Madrid didn’t have a midweek game, so they had more time to rest and to work on the pitches. Asked what they’d been working on, Zidane said: “We’ve not done too much physical work or anything like a mini pre-season, because there wasn’t time for that. But, we did work on things to boost the team because we had time to do so.”

Contract renewals were brought up again, as they have been in recent press conferences, and Zidane and was asked if he had spoken to the players with expiring deals. He confirmed that he had, stating: “We’ve spoken, but the important thing is for these situations to be sorted out. You’ll ask me after the game and in other press conferences, so I just want these situations to be sorted out.”

Finally, Zidane was asked about Karim Benzema’s legal troubles regarding the Mathieu Valbuena blackmail case. He said: “I support him. It’s a complicated situation and I hope it gets sorted for everyone. Karim is working hard, which is what he likes to do.”

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