Zidane hopeful on Ronaldo, Benzema fitness


Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane expressed hope on Tuesday that both Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema will be fit for their Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City.

Ronaldo sat out the first leg at the Etihad Stadium, which finished goalless, with a thigh strain, while Benzema, who had been a pre-match doubt with a knee problem, went off at half-time.

Zidane had declared both players “100 percent” fit in Monday’s pre-match press conference, but said that Ronaldo had “felt something” during the final training session.

“I said 100 percent, but I did say there was still training and we’d take a look,” said Zidane, whose side resume hostilities with City at the Bernabeu next Wednesday.

“Cristiano felt something after that last training session. That’s why he didn’t play. Karim, it was a little bit different. But at the end of the day, little by little, he felt a little bit worse in himself.

“We don’t want to gamble with his fitness. We know how important both players are for us.

“We hope that they can both be in the second leg. We have to take it day by day with both of them.”

Ronaldo watched Tuesday’s game from the bench, with Benzema giving way to Jese at half-time.

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