Zinedine Zidane warned Barcelona that Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are at 100 per cent for Saturday’s Clasico showdown in the Spanish capital.
The Real Madrid coach admitted that facing Barcelona will be the toughest game of the season but insisted even if his side lose, to fall 14 points behind their top-of-the-table arch-rivals, they will not be out of the title race.
Reigning champions Madrid have started the season badly and sit in fourth place, 11 points behind Barcelona having played a game less.
“It’s the most difficult game of the season. Barcelona versus Real Madrid matches are always very beautiful, very hard, but it’s what excites us,” said the Frenchman on Friday.
“The players play for this type of game, all year, the players are thinking about this date. And we’re ready to play.”
Bale, who made two substitute appearances in the Club World Cup which Madrid won last weekend, has told the coach he is ready to face Barcelona.
“I always trust my players. The important thing for me is that a player says he’s 100 per cent and ready to play, and Gareth says he is,” explained Zidane.
“I’m not going to tell you anything (if Bale will start), the team is up to me and tomorrow we will find out.”
Along with Bale, Ronaldo trained with the rest of the squad for the first time on Friday after suffering a blow during the Club World Cup final against Gremio, which has hampered him all week.
“Cristiano trained today, he’s 100 per cent added Zidane. “He’s only thinking about the game tomorrow and so are we.”
Zidane was at his most stubborn and refused to entertain other topics, like Barcelona’s potential guard of honour ahead of the game after Madrid’s Club World Cup triumph, insisting that he didn’t care about them and he was only focused on the match.
“Everyone can have their opinion about things but the only thing that interests me is the game as a whole, how we are as a team,” said Zidane.
“Whatever happens tomorrow we’ll keep working, there’s a long way to go. It’s just another game, three points, though we know the importance of winning and we will try to.
“We don’t care about what’s happened (so far this season), what happened has happened. This is a new game, a new situation and we are ready for it.”