Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has clarified that ‘it was part of the plan’ to take off Cristiano Ronaldo against Atletico Madrid on Sunday.
Zidane sprung a surprise by bringing off Ronaldo an hour into Madrid’s 1-1 draw wiith Atletico, despite scoring their opening goal, but the Coach asserted it was always his intention to rest the No 7.
“First of all, we’re happy with how the match went,” he said after the game.
“We deserved more. It’s a shame because we had lots of chances, but we could’ve lost the game too.
“We had chances in the first half but couldn’t take them. We had 10 minutes after our goal, which were a bit difficult.
“Still, I’m happy because we showed a real willingness to press them. Taking off Ronaldo? It was part of the plan, nothing more.
“We have many games and players need to rest. He’s clever and there are times when it’s ‘no’ and times when it’s ‘yes’. He needs it, he’s getting better every day.
“Ramos and Varane? I’m not clear on who I’ll play on Wednesday, but we’ll see how Jesus [Vallejo] is doing.
“He had some resentment after training and we didn’t want to risk him. Hopefully it’s only little and that he’ll be back on Wednesday.
“Favourites for the CL according to Simeone? I don’t like that talk and we’re not listening to any of it.
“Theres a second leg on Wednesday and we have to do everything in order to go through. I’m only thinking about this, the rest doesn’t interest me.
“Oblak? He’s very good, but he’s not my player. He’s showing it in every game and in everything he does. His save on Sergio [Ramos] was a good one, but he’s not my player.
“Reliance on Ronaldo? I don’t think so, I’m not thinking about this. Cristiano is Cristiano, he’s always been like this.
“There’s nothing else he can do, but there are more goals he can score. We have to think positively. Second place? I don’t see it any harder for us. We want it and we’ll go for it.
“Today we couldn’t win, but the objective is always the same, to cut the deficit and rise to second place.
“Griezmann? I’m happy for him but not my team because he scored against them. Juve? Everyone thinks we’re going through but we can’t think that way.
“We’ll suffer a lot. We’re playing for the season.”