Las Palmas vs Real Madrid
VENUE: Gran Canaria
10:30 PM BDT,31 March 2018
- 2017/2018 Spanish Primera División
Zinedine Zidane reiterated his desire to remain in charge of Real Madrid beyond the end of this season but admitted the final decision may be beyond his control.
Calls for Zidane to stand down or be removed from his role have quietened in recent weeks with Real winning nine of their last 10 matches in all competitions.
The Frenchman knows continuing in an upward trend will go a long way to satisfying those who had questioned his future as a result of a largely disappointing campaign.
“I would like to continue at Real Madrid next season. I like football and what I do, and I would like to continue. But we already know what football is like,” Zidane said in quotes on www.realmadrid.com.
“My idea is to continue as long as possible. Here everyone depends on results. It’s a club with high demands and I know where I am.”
Real are all but out of the LaLiga title race as they lie 15 points adrift of leaders Barcelona although they remain in contention to clinch a third successive Champions League crown.
After eliminating Paris St Germain last time out, Real have been drawn to face Italian champions Juventus in a re-run of last year’s final.
The first leg takes place in Turin on Tuesday but Zidane insists his side cannot afford to look beyond their trip to 18th-placed Las Palmas this weekend as they return to action after the international break.
“We have to try to win, as always. We know that Las Palmas are having a difficult season, but they are capable of putting in a big performance, and that says a lot about their team,” Zidane said.
“We have to be prepared and start strong, play with intensity and rhythm, without thinking about their position in the league because in Spain there are no small teams.
“We are going to Las Palmas with the maximum illusion, without thinking about Tuesday’s Champions League match. Of course we have the Turin game in our heads, but to prepare for it we have to do it well tomorrow.”
Talisman Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be rested while Zidane confirmed captain Sergio Ramos and midfielder Isco have “niggles” and will therefore not travel to Gran Canaria.
Gareth Bale, who represented Wales twice in China during the international break, is set to feature as Zidane added: “He’s ready to play. He played two matches with Wales and tomorrow it’s our turn. He’s ready to play.”
Las Palmas head into Saturday evening’s clash on a seven-match winless run but they held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Gran Canaria earlier this month.
But with six points separating Las Palmas from safety, boss Paco Jemez knows they cannot afford to simply hang on against the capital club.
“Any team that Real Madrid puts out is capable of taking on anybody,” he said in quotes on the club’s official website.
“To beat Real Madrid we have to attack better, but I hope we defend as we did against Barcelona, ??that would give us a lot.”
Jemez added defender Dani Castellano and midfielders Oghenekaro Etebo and Tana would be absent.