Zinedine Zidane admits he “doesn’t know” what Pepe’s future holds ahead of Real Madrid’s game against Sevilla in La Liga on Sunday.
Marca and Sky Sport Italia reported on Saturday that Pepe was set to join Italian side Inter, with his Madrid contract expiring in June and the defender having played just 18 times so far this season.
“It’s another chance to pick up points and stay on the right track,” the Coach said at a Press conference.
“The fans deserve another win, and they’ll will be with us until the last minute.
“It’s as decisive a match as the others and we’ll do everything possible to pick up the three points.
“My progress? Only work makes you better. If you work, you can achieve things and improve. If I do what I enjoy, I’ll get better. Every day, I feel more at ease.
“I think I’m getting better at everything, but that doesn’t mean anything. The only thing that counts here is doing everything possible to win.
“Four finals? Football is about details and we’ve done everything phenomenally well, but we haven’t won anything yet. We’re only thinking about tomorrow’s game.
“What we ask is for the fans to be with us because we’ll need their support.
“A lot has been said from the outside and we don’t want to divert our attention. We’re only thinking about tomorrow’s game.
“Buffon-Ronaldo for the Ballon d’Or? Everyone can think what they want, they know what I think.
“Pepe? His career has been tremendous. He’s spent 10 years doing fantastic things.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen next season because I’m focused on tomorrow’s game.
“Pepe won’t be in the squad because he’s still having rib cramps. He’s training with us but isn’t fit enough to play.
“Our most difficult match? These three matches are very complicated. Celta are very good, Malaga are very good, but we’re only thinking about the match tomorrow against Sevilla.
“Psychological fatigue? We’re fine physically and coping well with stress.
“Management of egos? Beyond talking about egos, I talk about people. For me, the most beautiful thing is to manage this group of people.
“Bale? We have to see day to day. He’s still inside [the gym] with discomfort. We’ll see day to day, but for now he’s not with us. I don’t know when, but I hope [he returns] soon.
“Benzema? I’m happy for him, for everything that was said about him. I didn’t wait for the game against Atletico to see what Karim was like.
“I’ve known him for a long time and I know what a great player he is. He’s asked to score many goals, but I’m more interested in what he does with his teammates, how he links up with them, because to score lots of goals, we also have Cristiano, Morata…
“Rotations? We’ll see. I’ll name a team against Sevilla and on Wednesday there’ll be another game, so surely there’ll be changes.
“Double? We have more opportunities to do it [this season] than ever before because we’re closer than ever.
“We have four matches, four finals to win both the League and Champions League, but we still haven’t won anything. We have to continue with our work, our way.
“It’s the fruit of the work that we’ve been putting in all season, but what we want is to continue with our work and thinking about what we have left. We have the hardest bit left.”
Real Madrid (probable): Keylor; Danilo, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; James, Benzema, Ronaldo
Injuries/suspensions: Bale, Carvajal, Pepe (I)
Sevilla (probable): Sergio Rico; Mercado, Pareja, Rami, Lenglet, Escudero; Correa, N’Zonzi, Nasri, Vitolo; Ben Yedder
Injuries/suspensions: Escudero, Iborra, Mariano, Nasri, Tremoulinas (I) Sarabia (S) Rami, Vitolo (doubtful)
Referee: Undiano Mallenco
Form guide: Madrid (W W W L W) Sevilla (D L W W D)
Previous meeting: Sevilla 2-1 Madrid
Kick-off time: 19:00 BST/20:00 local time (LIVE on Football Espana!)