Real Madrid face Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday night and Zinedine Zidane previewed the match in the press conference held on Monday afternoon. Looking ahead to the game, the coach said: “It’s the most difficult and important game of the season because it’s the next one. We’ll face it like you’d expect us to face a Champions League semi-final. We’ll compete to our maximum. I don’t think they’ll sit back. They defend well, but they attack well too. We must defend as well and we also need to create chances. We’ll have to be at our best to hurt them.”
Asked if he thinks Real Madrid’s experience will be key, given that Chelsea haven’t been to the semi-finals since 2014, Zidane explained why he didn’t agree with that. He said: “I don’t think so. In the present, they’re a team who have done good work in the Champions League. Both Chelsea and Real Madrid deserve to be here. We have experience, but Chelsea have experience in various competitions too.”
For Eden Hazard, this is a special match against his former club and Zidane said the Belgian is in good condition, saying: “He was very good the other day. He didn’t feel any of his problems and he’s feeling good. We’re all happy to have him with us.”
There were also various questions about the Super League, in Spanish, in English and in French. Zidane get increasingly frustrated with these questions as he refused to give his opinion on the project, but the did dismiss the conspiracy theory that UEFA will seek revenge on Real Madrid through biased refereeing in this tie. On that, Zidane said: “It’s absurd to think we want be in the Champions League next year. There has been a lot of talk about this [refereeing in this tie and disqualification for next year] but we have to just focus on tomorrow’s match. We’ll focus on the pitch and we expect the referee will do his job as he always would. It would bad to think about all these theories from outside. We’ll compete from minute one to 90.”
In terms of injuries, Zidane confirmed that Toni Kroos is back and that Ferland Mendy won’t be able to make it.