Sport

Zidane: Real Madrid not dependent on returning Ronaldo

Zidane: Real Madrid not dependent on returning Ronaldo”

"Last season after the first game against Monaco it was hard to change the dynamic".

After failing to progress from a relatively kind group that featured CSKA Moscow, Leverkusen and Monaco, Pochettino reflected his squad had struggled to cope with the physical and mental demands of the Champions League.

"We were very focused on trying to win the Premier League and fighting with (eventual champions) Leicester. 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".

Zinedine Zidane's side have suffered disappointing draws against Valencia and Levante that have left them four points off the pace behind Liga leaders Barcelona and Real Sociedad in the table.

"Everyone knows who Cristiano is", he said.

'It's a great competition and we must be proud to play it. "We can not talk about a dependency, but I always want him to be with us". He always wants to win and he transmits that to the rest.

"What interests me is that everyone can play".

Marco Asensio
GETTYMarco Asensio has been a standout player for Real Madrid this season

With Karim Benzema out for at least a month with a hamstring injury, Ronaldo is likely to feature at centre-forward against Apoel.

"It's true that when you look at the players that we had, like Morata and Mariano, when you look now and you have only have Mayoral you could think we lack a number nine and that might be the case". Besides Karim, we have Gareth [Bale] and Cristiano.

"Why not now start again to create the same in the Champions League and try to reduce the gap with these clubs?"

Real barely missed him as they outclassed Manchester United to win the European Super Cup, although he came on as a late substitute in the 2-1 win.

"Now we need experience", he said of their attempt to match the likes of Madrid. "We are excited about starting again but we know it will be hard". Our ambition is to win every game. But we are used to that. I hope that's the last time this season he's not available.

"He doesn't just bring goals", Zidane said on Tuesday. "Marco has a bit of a problem, and is touch and go".



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