Zinedine Zidane struggled for superlatives to describe Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance in Real Madrid’s 4-2 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.
Ronaldo scored a brace and teed up Toni Kroos for Madrid’s third just before half-time, and despite Raphael Varane’s red card and Athletic pulling two goals back, Zidane was confident his side were ready for their Champions League commitments next week.
“Mistakes are always going to happen, but I’m not worried about them,” he said after the game.
“We’re prepared for Roma and I’m happy with the team.
“I don’t know if it was our most complete game, but the most important thing is that we gave our all.
“I’m glad for [Mateo Kovacic]. He played very well and I took him off because he was tired, but I’m happy with his performance.
“The best thing is that we won because our opponents were difficult.
“You can never be the sole owner of the ball and be the only team to create chance, but we must keep our mistakes to a minimum.
“I only sought to give minutes to Kovacic, nothing more. I have a big squad.
“I didn’t think [Varane’s] red card was fair. I haven’t seen the images, but I didn’t think it was fair [at the time it happened].
“Cristiano [Ronaldo] is very important on the wing because when facing an opponent one-on-one, he’s very good.
“That was the idea and it worked because it’s difficult to defend the first goal he scored.
“I don’t know if I can say it, but… he was bloody great.
“[The full-backs] played well and will again on Wednesday. It’s not [Dani] Carvajal’s usual position [on the left], but he did a good job.
“[On Kovacic starting against Roma], I won’t think about that until Sunday because for now, I’ll enjoy this victory.
“I’m happy for [James’] goal. He’s slowly recapturing his form.”