Zinedine Zidane warns no-one is guaranteed a place in his Real Madrid team and admits “I don’t see La Liga without Barcelona.”
Madrid surprisingly drew 2-2 at home to Valencia before the international break, leaving them already two points off the pace in La Liga, but Zidane made it clear he would treat everyone in his squad equally, while hoping for a resolution in the stand-off between Barca and League chief Javier Tebas.
“International break? Football is like this, Madrid ‘s players have national teams and that’s not going to change,” the Coach began at a Press conference for Saturday’s early visit of Levante.
“The best news is that we haven’t had many things on the topic of injuries, just a little something with Dani Ceballos.
“That’s the best news for a Coach, plus there those who stayed behind and worked very well.
“Florentino says I have the best squad? I’m not going to get into that, that’s all I can say about what the President said.
“You can always improve and the referees can do the same. As a Coach, I can also be wrong. I won’t talk about these things anymore. Everyone’s free to say whatever they like, the President more so.
“Referees can officiate well, but they’re always going to make mistakes and it’s difficult for them. Have they improved? I don’t know, I’m not going to get into that.
“The only thing I say is that everyone can improve, the referees as well. Asensio and Isco vs BBC? They’ve always been important to me.
“The chalkboard and players are always going to change. The main thing is that they feel important.
“Asensio? I’m not surprised about him. What he brings to the team is phenomenal, but you have to give him a little peace and quiet.
“He can still improve a lot, but with humility and calmness. It’s important that he goes his own way and keeps a cool head.
“He hasn’t touched his ceiling yet, but he can with humility. Noise from the outside, on the other hand…
“Whistles? I’d ask the fans to always stick by their team, but at the same time, they pay to come here, and when they’re not happy, they can also say what they’re thinking, even if that means whistling.
“But I don’t like being whistled. What we always try to do is to give our maximum and the fans know that.
“Every now and then, there are games where things don’t go as planned, but nothing happens, that’s football and it’ll always happen.
“Theo? We’re happy with him. He’s been with us for almost two months and he’s ready to play.
“I don’t know if he will tomorrow, but he’s training well and prepared. We’re going to have a lot of games this month and we’re going to need everyone.
“La Liga without Barca? I don’t see a Spanish League without Barcelona. As a football fan, I’ve always seen him in this League, but it’s a complicated debate, what will or won’t happen.
“Ronaldo? Cristiano’s tired of not being able to play with us, but he will on Wednesday.
“Bale? No player’s happy when they’re whistled, but I see him well mentally. I don’t see him as badly as people are saying. He’s a very important player and he’ll do well.
“There are games where you don’t play well or the result isn’t the right one, but it’ll always happen and more so at Madrid.
“At Madrid, it’s inevitable. When we don’t pick up three points, we won’t be able to avoid it. What we’re going to try is to win every game.”
Real Madrid (probable): Casilla; Marcelo, Nacho, Ramos, Carvajal; Kovacic, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Asensio
Injuries/suspensions: Keylor, Modric, Varane (I) Ronaldo (S)
Levante (probable): Raul; Ivan, Postigo, Chema, Tono; Lerma, Campana, Bardhi, Jason, Ivi; Alegria
Injuries/suspensions: Doukoure, Roger (I) Morales (S)
Referee: Hernandez Hernandez
Form guide: Madrid (D W – – -) Levante (D W – – -)
Previous meeting: Levante 1-3 Madrid
Kick-off time: 12:00 BST/13:00 CET (LIVE on Football Espana)