Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has called up 19 players for today’s derby against Atlético, at the Santiago Bernabéu.
The match, the 22nd in La Liga, will kick off at 4pm Nigerian time. Madrid are at present sitting atop the league, with 46 points, leading Barcelona with three points. Atletico are fifth with 34 points.
Ahead of kick-off, a minute’s silence will be held in memory of basketball and global sports legend Kobe Bryant.
Also ahead of the match, Zidane gave an analysis of what to expect in the derby.
“It’s a special game because it’s a derby, and we like playing here with them. They always try to support us in every game. We want the fans behind us and that’s how it’s going to be tomorrow. All 25 players are focused and that’s what’s important”.
We didn’t watch the pre-season match nor the Super Cup match. Today is a different match for both teams. We can’t compare it with any other game. We want to win every game and the fact that we haven’t beaten Atlético at the Bernabéu in the La Liga since 2012 means we have the chance to change this. Away we have beaten them”.
“I can stress the hard work and confidence, believing in what we’re doing. The word is work, that’s what you get good things from. Tomorrow we have to prove again what we are doing right. Nothing more. We are working very well and I have a very good squad. I’m sure we’ll have some tough games, but the key is everyone’s hard work. The first thing is to defend well and then with our quality we can do good things in attack. We have to prove it every three days. That’s what’s difficult”.
“I have 25 players and they’re all in very good shape and then I have to choose who plays. The good thing about our team is that they are all involved and the ones who play in the match try to do well and give everything on the pitch. That for me is the most important thing. I can only choose 18 and some of them will miss out and stay at home. That’s the hard part for the coach.”.
IT’S A SPECIAL GAME BECAUSE IT’S A DERBY AND WE LIKE TO PLAY IN FRONT OF OUR FANS.
“The important thing is that everyone is focused and ready. I’m not going to tell you who’s going to play tomorrow. The players have to be ready and everyone is ready. I’ve got the best and they’re all important. There are a lot of games and the good thing is that the players know that”.
Is it the best team you’ve ever coached?
“When I played at Real Madrid they asked me the same thing. The important thing is that here it has always been like that and Real Madrid has always had the best players. Every period is different”.
REAL MADRID SQUAD:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Areola and Altube.
Defenders: Carvajal, Militão, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo and Mendy.
Midfielders: Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Valverde, James and Isco.
Forwards: Benzema, Lucas Vázquez, Jović and Vinicius Jr.