Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said it’s too early to kick off celebrations as the uncrowned 2016/17 La Liga winners although they need only a point in their upcoming match against Malaga FC.
Los Blancos are clearly within reach of the league title but the Frenchman says he’s “happy, calm and tired” after a tough campaign, stressing that football will never be like mathematics.
“I am happy, I am just a bit tired that’s all,” he said.
“We have been at this for nine months, with some difficulties at times, against very good rivals.
“To win a Liga title you must suffer, but you see by the way they play that the team enjoys it, that they are feeling very good. All the Madrid fans too.”
The Albicelestes are no underdogs just as Barca are waiting for Madrid to lose grip of their chances, but Zidane and his men understand that La Liga has neither respect nor fear for the status quo.
“We do not feel it is over yet,” Zidane said in the post-match interview.
“This is a difficult place to come and it was a tough game. We played with an incredible attitude from the start, and with personality, and got the three points we wanted. But the last game maybe will be even more difficult than today.”
Arch-rivals Barcelona have been accused of conspiracies against Madrid as both teams plot for victory in Sunday’s last round of games.
Interestingly, whatever happens in the match between Barca and Eibar on Sunday, Los Blancos stand favored if they don’t loose concentration in La Rosaleda.
“We still have one game to go, we need to get a result [at Malaga], and keep doing what we have been doing,” Zidane said.
“We cannot play for a draw, we must play our normal game,” he added. “We know it will be a difficult game, but we are going to try and play at 100 percent to win it.”
The 44-year-old gambled with his decision to rest Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of the big games. And the player’s double in their 4-1 win against Celta Vigo shows Zidane’s rotation policy is paying off.
“Cristiano feels very well, physically great,” he said. “You can see that on the pitch. He has shown that again today, not just with his goals, he worked hard too in defence.
“[On the working strategy] It was important to start the game well,” Zizou said. “We did that, and we scored. Then we had 20 minutes when it was back and forth and although we counter-attack very well that type of game does not really suit us.
“The second half we managed the game much better, having control with the ball. We had a lot of chances then, and could have scored even more goals.”
And the last words from Madrid’s legendary coach? “We’ve just won another cup final and now we need one last push at La Rosaleda, which will not be easy,” he told Madrid website.
“We are highly motivated and, although we only need a point, we will go there to win, as always.”
Zidane is a pace-setter, a hero and an emotionally supercharged tactician whose temper may prove decisive against Malaga on Sunday.
If you look at the fourteen red cards I had in my career, twelve of them were a result of provocation. This isn’t justification, this isn’t an excuse, but my passion, temper, and blood made me react – Zinedine Zidane.