Wednesday 22 November 2017

Zinedine Zidane tells Cristiano Ronaldo to ignore Real Madrid boo boys

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his fourth goal against Celta Vigo on Saturday: Photo: Susana Vera/Reuters
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his fourth goal against Celta Vigo on Saturday: Photo: Susana Vera/Reuters

Jamie Holland

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has urged Cristiano Ronaldo to shrug off any criticism from the club's supporters ahead of the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Roma tonight.

Ronaldo and his Madrid team-mates were subjected to whistles from the baying Bernabeu crowd on Saturday before blowing Celta Vigo away with the Portuguese scoring four in the 7-1 rout.

A week earlier Real were beaten 1-0 by cross-city rivals Atletico to all but end their hopes of challenging for the Primera Division title.

Real are now 12 points adrift of leaders Barcelona but look well-placed to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, having won the first leg 2-0 in Rome.

Ronaldo took his personal tally in this season's Champions League to 12 with the opener at the Stadio Olimpico while his haul against Celta moved him on to 27 Primera Division goals.

Despite being the top scorer in both competitions some Madrid supporters have been calling for the 31-year-old to be sold, but Zidane has told Ronaldo to ignore the critics.

"I'm not in favour of selling him. I am the coach and I want him," Zidane said. "They [the fans] whistled at me, at everyone. It's not a question of any player in particular, it's the fans who want more from their players and this is better for the players, trying to make them always do their best. The fans really love their players in the end and this is very important. The stadium is always full and this means a lot."

Toni Kroos, who missed the game against Celta Vigo because of a virus, trained yesterday, as did Luka Modric who has been struggling with an ankle injury.

Karim Benzema is still recovering from his hamstring complaint but Gareth Bale could start after making a goalscoring return from a calf injury against Celta Vigo.

"He is prepared and ready to play," Zidane said of Bale. "That is the most important thing. The players who play have to do their job. The players know what they have to do on the field.

"There's one idea. It's the same - it's to always defend when we don't have the ball and try to do damage when we have it. It will be difficult to pick the team but it's better having all your players available."

In tonight's other game, Wolfsburg hope they will not come to regret the two goals they conceded in the final 10 minutes in Gent in the first leg. The German side were 3-0 up and cruising until Sven Kums and Kalifa Coulibaly scored late to revive Gent's hopes.

Real Madrid v Roma, Live BT Sport Europe 7.45

Wolfsburg v Gent, Live BT Sport 2, 7.45

Irish Independent

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