Zidane: There’s a good reason for choosing Casemiro over Kroos and Ramos

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane spoke to the press ahead of his side’s Champions League group stage match against Club Brugge.

Real Madrid have already qualified for the last 16 of the competition in second place but with no chance of catching table-toppers PSG. Here’s a Tuesday interview with Madrid head coach:

Message for Real Madrid players?

The message is always the same. It’s the final game of the Champions League group stage and we want to play some good football.

The Clásico is on the horizon and the political situation remains tense. Are you worried about it being postponed again?

I don’t know anything about that. The game I’m interested in is the one today, it’s the only thing we’re thinking about. Everything else is in the future and we’ll have time to think about it.

Are you worried about Hazard? Do you think he’ll need an operation [on the microfracture in his ankle]?

I don’t think so, but nor do I know exactly. I can tell you that right now the injury is under control and I hope it turns out to be better than forecast. They were talking about one or two weeks and now the main thing is to be patient, because it’s not a good moment – we hope he’s back with us quickly.

Kroos and Ramos aren’t in the squad, but Casemiro is. What is it Casemiro has that makes it hard for someone else to take his place?

We know what Case can do, we’ve talked about it many times. He’s a player who’s played so many minutes. A coach always has to choose the squad and think about the specific game. We know how important Case is, for everyone. Lots of players have played, including Varane. And you have to remember the minutes they’ve played with their countries.

Club Brugge will want to win tomorrow, how do you cope with them?

It’ll be a difficult game. They are playing for third spot and qualification. For us it’s a Champions League game, not a friendly, and we want to win and play well. They’ve shown their quality, they know how to play football and we want to have a good game.

Is Benzema playing for himself? Is he thinking about beating Raúl’s record and becoming the third highest goal scorer in the Champions League behind Cristiano and Messi?

I don’t know. But no doubt Karim, who is always ambitious and always wants more, will have thought about it. Karim’s ambition is to always play for Real Madrid.

Ramos said there should be a Ballon d’Or for Cristiano and Messi and one for the rest. Which one would Zidane in 1998 be aiming for?

The one for the rest. No doubt, none. They’ve got five and six each.

Is it a match to send a message to the players who haven’t played so much, such as Jovic.

Yes, yes, yes.

Will Jovic play tomorrow?

We’ll see tomorrow. Some of them have to play, yes.