'Real are short a striker': Zidane regrets Chelsea star's departure

'Real are short a striker': Zidane regrets Chelsea star's departure
'Real are short a striker': Zidane regrets Chelsea star's departure
Author

13 September, 2017

Zinedine Zidane has rejected suggestions Real Madrid is dependent on Cristiano Ronaldo following a stuttering start to its defence of La Liga in the Portuguese star's absence.

Although if Luis is talking about the Champions League he may have a point as Ronaldo scored just twice in his first eight games of last season's competition, but did then go on to notch 10 in his final five matches against Bayern Munich, Atletico and Juventus. That was their second successive home draw after a 2-2 draw at home to Valencia a fortnight earlier, and another game where Madrid paid for a lack of bite in the opposition penalty area.

Ronaldo is eligible to feature in Wednesday's Champions League group-stage opener at home to Cypriot side APOEL, as Madrid looks to get back to winning ways and begin the defence of its European crown in strong fashion.

The Brazilian had praise for the 30-year-old in a recent interview, but also insisted he has never been tempted to ask for Messi's jersey at the end of a match because representing his team means more than playing against the five-time Ballon d'Or victor.

"What interests me is that everyone can play".

"He is an important player in the squad, he is a leader". He transmits that [to his team-mates]. "He only likes playing football and we are happy because he is in very good physical shape and also in good mental shape", commented Zidane, who nevertheless would not reveal whether Ronaldo would play in the central striking role.

"We will have the best player in the world on the pitch and that is crucial", Navas told reporters. "I hope Sunday is the last game of the season that he is not here".


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