Real ‘playing for our season,’ says Zidane

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Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane (left) looks on as Wolfsburg’s Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final, first-leg football match between VfL Wolfsburg and Real Madrid on April 6 in Wolfsburg, northern Germany. AFP PHOTO

Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane (left) looks on as Wolfsburg’s Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final, first-leg football match between VfL Wolfsburg and Real Madrid on April 6 in Wolfsburg, northern Germany. AFP PHOTO

MADRID: Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane warned the Spanish giants’ season would be on the line in Tuesday’s (Wednesday in Manila) return leg against Wolfsburg in the Champions League quarterfinals.

“On Tuesday, we’re playing for our season,” said Zidane on Friday (Saturday in Manila), with the record 10-time European champions trailing 2-0 after crashing to a shock first-leg defeat in Germany.

However, the Frenchman sounded confident of turning things around with the backing of the home support at the Santiago Bernabeu to reach the semi-finals for the sixth year running.

“I think the supporters will be behind us. On Tuesday we’re playing for our season but we clearly know that. It’s a huge game and the fans like that too.


“I like it when things become difficult and I think the fans do as well,” said Zidane, adding he wasn’t worried about his future should Real bow out of Europe next week.

“My job is at stake all the time. When I put myself in this situation, I knew the rules. If I’d had a problem with it, I wouldn’t have put myself in it.

“I’m at peace with that. What keeps me going is what I do daily, how I can do things to improve, for the team to improve.

“As for the rest, I know that if I lose two matches, one competition, I know that I can be on my way, that they can replace me, that’s just part of things.

“But I’m not in that position, I’m right in the middle of the season and very busy with my goals.”

Conquering Europe represents Real’s only remaining hope of a major trophy this season after they were disqualified from the Copa del Rey for fielding an ineligible player.

They also trail La Liga leaders Barcelona by seven points despite a 2-1 victory in El Clasico last weekend.

Real will be without Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane for Saturday’s league game at home to Eibar, but Zidane said the pair should be fit for Tuesday’s return leg against Wolfsburg.

France striker Benzema hurt his knee during the defeat in Germany, while Varane injured his calf while on international duty with the Euro 2016 hosts.

“Karim can still feel his knock and it will be difficult for him to join us tomorrow (Saturday). The idea is to do some individual work.

“It’s the same thing for Raphael. It will be his first training session out on the pitch after doing some work inside. The aim is to have both players ready for Tuesday.”

Zidane is expected to rotate his squad on Saturday, with Keylor Navas and Luka Modric rested and Sergio Ramos suspended, although Cristiano Ronaldo will start.

AFP

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