Zidane aware of Madrid’s special demands
MADRID: Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane insists he isn’t shocked by criticism following three consecutive draws due to his experience of the unique demands at the Spanish giants.
Zidane has masterminded a huge turnaround in Real’s fortunes since taking charge in January, winning the Champions League in May and leading Madrid on a club record 16-game winning La Liga run to move a point clear of Barcelona at the top of the table.
However, that streak was snapped by back-to-back draws against Villarreal and Las Palmas, whilst Madrid were forced to settle for a point once more in a 2-2 draw at Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Tuesday.
“This is Real Madrid. I was a player here, it is the top of the top and that is how it is. What interests me is looking for solutions,” Zidane said on Saturday ahead of Eibar’s visit to the Santiago Bernabeu.
“The demands of this club are day-to-day. People can value the fact we won the Champions League or not, but if we don’t do things well tomorrow I know what can happen.
“I know where I am.”
Zidane will again be without injured Brazilian duo Marcelo and Casemiro, whilst Luka Modric was added to Real’s injury list with a cartilage problem in his left knee.
The Croatian is now a doubt for his country’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Kosovo and Finland.
Isco will be handed a rare chance to start in his absence just a day after Spain coach Julien Lopetegui admitted his lack of playing time was a concern for the national team.
“Knowing the quality he has, I am the first one who likes Isco,” added Zidane.
“Now he is fine, he is training without any problems, he is an important player for us and will play tomorrow.”
However, whilst Isco was recalled to the international scene, Karim Benzema was once again left out of the French squad by Didier Deschamps due to the ongoing fallout over a sex tape blackmail case involving teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
“I am not going to get involved in whether Karim should be called up,” said Zidane, who won the World Cup alongside Deschamps in 1998.
“He will stay with us and we can work with him here. What I want is to recover the best of Karim and we are doing that little-by-little.”
Eibar have never taken a point off Madrid in four previous La Liga meetings.
However, the Basques are enjoying their best ever start to a season in the top flight as they sit just four points behind the leaders in eighth.