Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane spoke to the media ahead of Saturday’s LaLiga clash with Eibar – a game in which Los Blancos can move to within three points of leaders Atlético Madrid, who face Sevilla on Sunday.
The press conference was dominated by questions about captain Sergio Ramos, who has been ruled out for up to a month after picking up a muscle injury on Spain duty.
Zidane also discussed the fitness of Toni Kroos and Eden Hazard, and swatted away enquiries about Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland, whose representatives met with both Madrid and Barcelona on Thursday.
Zidane’s pre-Eibar press conference:
Crucial game against Eibar:
“Every game is important in the run-in. We have 15 cup finals ahead of us [in LaLiga]. We want to achieve our objective, starting with tomorrow’s game.”
Expectations for the match against José Luis Mendilibar’s men:
“It’ll be a high-intensity clash. They’ll come here firing on all cylinders.”
Sergio Ramos’ injury on international duty: who’s fault is it?
“It’s nobody’s fault: neither Real Madrid’s nor Spain’s. It’s just part and parcel of the game. It’s the side of football that we don’t like, but we have to accept it.”
Impact of losing Ramos for the upcoming clashes with Barcelona and Liverpool:
“We’ve got a game tomorrow to think about first. We want Sergio to always be available, but we have to focus on the players who are going to be available. We’re not looking beyond tomorrow’s game.”
Was it sensible of Ramos to go on Spain duty?
“It’s true that he didn’t play for us [against Celta Vigo before international week], but then three or four days later he felt better. I think it was a normal process.”
Could Ramos’ injury affect the chances of him renewing his contract at the club?
“I don’t think so. We want Sergio to stay here. That’s how I feel as head coach, [considering] the player he has been for the club and what he means to this club.”
Eden Hazard recovery:
“We’re taking it day by day. We’re not going to rush him back. He’s in much better shape but I can’t say when [he’ll return to action]. If it’s in a few days’ time, great; if it’s more like 10 days, that’s fine too. We’re happy to have him back with us.”
Toni Kroos injury:
“He’s doing better. He picked up an injury that prevented him from playing for his country [over the March international break]. He trained with us today and we’ll see. We’ve got a lot of games to play, so we’re not going to do anything stupid.”
Haaland camp’s trip to Spain:
“He’s not my player. I’m not going to get into anything like that. All we’re interested in is tomorrow’s game. I’m getting tired of saying it; I’m always going to give you the same answer.”
Are you thinking about the players who could be at your disposal next season, such as Haaland?
“No. I’m only thinking about tomorrow’s game.”