Zidane in awe of his Real players as they target another final


Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Real Madrid v Osasuna - Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Madrid, Spain - May 1, 2021 Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane REUTERS/Susana Vera

LONDON (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said he is constantly surprised by his players' capacity to overcome difficulties as they set their sights on a fourth Champions League final in six years in Wednesday's semi-final second leg away to Chelsea.

Real have had the most injuries in La Liga this season but have pulled themselves back into the title race while they have also had to contend without a number of influential players in their run to the last four of Europe's top competition.

"We've had a lot of difficulties but you have to take your hat off to this team," Zidane told a virtual news conference ahead of Wednesday's decider at Stamford Bridge, where the tie is delicately balanced at 1-1 from the first leg.

"More than anything else, this team has character. And when the going gets tough they always dig in. In my eyes, they are the best. We are exactly where we want to be and it's fully deserved."

Real suffered the latest in a slew of recent injury setbacks when centre back Raphael Varane was ruled out with a thigh problem, adding to a list of stricken defenders including Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez.

But Zidane has been boosted by the return of captain Sergio Ramos, who is set to play his ninth Champions League semi-final tie after recovering from injury, plus French left back Ferland Mendy and Uruguayan midfielder Federico Valverde.

He can also finally count on a fully fit Eden Hazard, who was in lively form in Saturday's 2-0 win over Osasuna and is in line to start at the ground which he called home for seven years before switching from Chelsea to Real in 2019.

"It's a very good moment for him and I'm certain he'll help us a lot. He'll be able to show us his skill and quality," said Zidane of the Belgian, whose two seasons at Real have been stunted by a series of long-term injuries.

Midfielder Toni Kroos added: "We all know what Eden can give us. He is much better and getting close to his true level. He can help us a lot in a game like this. I don't know how sharp he'll be because he has played so little, but he's always dangerous."

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
   

Next In Football

Analysis-Soccer-Toiling Kane not leading England by example
Soccer-England given reality check by gutsy Scotland in stalemate
Soccer-Czech coach rues lack of concentration in Croatia draw
Soccer-Modric and Perisic rue another poor Croatia performance
Soccer-Bolivia's Martins gets one-game ban for criticising Copa organisation
Analysis-Soccer-Croatia tactical switch makes the difference, but starting XI too flat
Soccer-Klinsmann interested in Spurs job
Soccer-Super Schick puts Czechs closer to knockouts with Croatia draw
Soccer-Perisic gives Croatia lifeline in 1-1 draw with Czech Republic
Soccer-Mexico hit with FIFA fan ban at two home World Cup qualifiers

Stories You'll Enjoy


Vouchers