Real Madrid’s 40-goal unbeaten run which started in April 2016 ended with a 2-1 loss to Spanish rivals, Sevilla, who are now second in the league table with only a point gap from Zinedine Zidane’s team.
The European champions won their first leg Copa del Rey match against Sevilla with 3-0 but went down 2-1 in the second leg.
Unfortunately, Madrid fell to Stevan Jovetic‘s courageous attempt during extra time after La Rojiblancos had equalized in the 85th minute.
The disappointing 15 January encounter leaves the race for La Liga crown unpredictable.
Ronaldo scored his La Liga record 56th penalty goals in 63 minutes, an achievement which leaves him with just one more to becoming the league’s highest penalty taker. He currently shares the record with Madrid legend Hugo Sanchez.
Zinedine Zidane spoke with reporters ahead of the club’s 21 January fixture against Malaga.
The French coach admits that critics are finding it hard not to blame Cristiano Ronaldo for the recent slump in Madrid’s La Liga campaign, but Zizou thinks they’re wrong.
Zidane, 44, said he’s hopeful that CR7 will not be distracted by criticisms during Saturday’s Primera Liga encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“The good thing is that we have another match after two defeats,” Zidane said at a press conference. “We are not going to change the idea we have.
“Cristiano will always have critics; when he doesn’t score, when he plays in a different position. He is used to that.
“He is focused like everyone else on the next match. He will always be the player who makes the difference for this team.
“Sometimes he can play worse, it happened to me. So what? The important thing is to continue working.”
The former France international footballer admitted that Ronaldo’s role as a ‘Number 9’ may have affected his performance during last Wednesday night’s Copa del Rey defeat to Celta Vigo.
Zidane thinks the position wasn’t favorable and has never been the player’s best.
“That’s where he played the other day, we thought it was fine with Asensio on the wing. He can do that but we think his best position is on the left, as it always has been and that will not change.
“This is football, you cannot win every game. Like in life.
“In my mind there is only work, thinking about things we could do better. We need to have more concentration, I am not worried.”
“[On the pressures from losing to Sevilla and Celta] There is pressure on me, but there was when I signed with this club. I will always have pressure on me, until the last day I am here.
“It makes me grow stronger every day.”
The former France international footballer and World Cup winner admits his team is struggling to keep their winning mentality.
Despite the losses, Zidane says there’s still a chance for Los Blancos to open up a four-point gap and retake their position as confident leaders in La Liga when they face Malaga today.
“I have seen a lot of Malaga matches on video. The results have not been positive for them but that doesn’t mean anything.
“They are an organised team who know how to play, but we have to worry about ourselves.”