Madrid don’t need help from referees, says Zidane

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Zidane
Zinedine Zidane — AFP/File
Shukriya Pakistan

MADRID: Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane had a pointed message for La Liga rivals Barcelona on Saturday by claiming the European champions “don’t depend” on anyone else to win.

Barca produced the biggest comeback in Champions League history on Wednesday with a remarkable 6-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain to complete a 6-5 aggregate win.

However, Barca’s win was overshadowed by a series of controversial calls from German referee Deniz Aytekin as he awarded the Catalans two penalties.

“Real Madrid is unique,” said Zidane when asked if controversial decisions in favour of Madrid are given more attention in the media.

“We know that we annoy certain people, but that is not going to change.

“If we win it is because we’ve played well, we don’t depend on anything or anyone else.”

Madrid trail Barcelona by a point at the top of La Liga, but have a game in hand over their title rivals.

When further pushed on PSG’s complaints, the Frenchman tried to turn attention to Real’s La Liga clash with Real Betis on Sunday.

However, he claimed the confidence gained from their remarkable recovery from a 4-0 first leg defeat won’t have a beneficial on Barca’s title charge.

“I can’t tell you what percentage (the referee influenced the game). What interests me is our game tomorrow,” added Zidane.

“They (Barcelona) are the same team. That isn’t going to change anything.”

Madrid had a far easier time in booking their place in the quarter-finals for a seventh consecutive season as a 3-1 win at Napoli on Tuesday rounded off a 6-2 aggregate win.

Zidane had made a series of changes for last weekend’s 4-1 win at Eibar to keep players fresh from the trip to Italy.

But, as Real target a first La Liga title since 2012, Zidane rejected suggestions he is prioritising Madrid’s quest to become the first side to retain the Champions League in 27 years.

“It is a long time since we have won La Liga,” said Zidane.

“It is a tremendous motivation. We can’t play every three days in the same way, with the same intensity and determination.

“We are motivated for both the Champions League and La Liga. This year we want to win this league.

“People may think we don’t give as much importance to La Liga, but inside the club it is not like that.”

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