Skip to main content

Zidane battles to slow Ronaldo down ahead of Man City fitness race

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane accepted that Cristiano Ronaldo's desire to play every game can be an issue and only rates the forward as "day-to-day" to play Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday.

The Portugal international will miss Saturday's La Liga encounter at Rayo Vallecano due to a thigh problem, but the prolific attacker would have played had the decision been up to him.

Zidane revealed Madrid would not have allowed him to take the field even if the Rayo game had been the Champions League final, but feels the 31-year-old's hunger remains mainly a good thing even if they have to slow him down for his own good.

"Cristiano's injury is nothing serious, but he will not play against Rayo," Zidane said at his pre-match media conference.

"We have to slow him down a bit, but he knows he cannot play against Rayo. He would have liked to play, but he must stay at home.

"He would not have been playing either had it been the final. It would be too much of a risk. We are thinking about Tuesday's game and we will see day-to-day how things develop before City.

"On the one hand, it is a problem that Cristiano always wants to play, but on the other hand it is good that he is always keen to help the team. I see that as a positive. He always wants to help the team and always wants more. That's great for a coach.

"Cristiano is untouchable because of his achievements. He gets his break when he needs it. I do not see a problem with him. He did not get injured because he always wants to play. I don't think he is exhausted.

"Cristiano is no different than any other player. Every player always wants to play. I appreciate and respect his attitude, but the team is ready to cope without Cristiano against Rayo."

Ronaldo leads the scoring charts in La Liga with 31 goals - one ahead of Barcelona's Luis Suarez - and has netted 47 in all competitions in 2015-16.