Zinedine Zidane has said Cristiano Ronaldo is “very focused” on returning to what he does best by playing in Wednesday’s UCL Group H opener at home to Apoel Nicosia.
“Cristiano is very good, very focused on what he has to do,” Zidane said. “He is very happy to be back playing, it is what he likes, what he wants to do more than anything else. We are happy to have him back, physically he is very fit, and mentally with all that has happened, all the talk, he is very good.”
“Everyone knows who Cristiano is,” he said. “I always prefer to have him with us, nothing more. We cannot talk about dependency, what I want is for all the players to be available for the coach.
Cristiano does not bring just goals, he is an important member of the squad. He is a leader, who always wants to win, and transmits that to all the others. Every time he is with us, me as coach and the players as well, we are all happy.”
“You can say we lack a No. 9, and maybe we do,” he said. “We would have liked Morata to stay, but he wanted to play more, to leave, and we respected that. In the end we were not able to bring in another player. We must not go over it too much, as I believe a lot in [youngster Borja] Mayoral. Besides Karim, we have Gareth [Bale] and Cristiano. Maybe you say they play on the wings, but we will make do with what we have, and we will do well for sure.”
“We are champions but everything is beginning from zero again,” he said. “We are excited about starting again but we know it will be difficult. Every game, even a friendly, there is pressure here.
But we are used to that. Madrid are always favourites, but we know what we must do to above all start the competition well. At the moment I am only thinking of tomorrow, against an opponent who have experience and have the chance to play their own good game.”
“Rafa [Varane] is fine now, fully recovered, he will be with us,” Zidane said. “Marco has a bit of a problem, and is touch and go.”
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