Zidane has eye on chasing Barca

MADRID • Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane claimed he would not settle for just winning the Champions League this season after watching his side thrash Getafe 5-1 in La Liga on Saturday.

Los Blancos' seventh straight league victory momentarily moved Real to within a point of Barcelona, who were due to face Valencia at the Nou Camp yesterday (this morning, Singapore time).

"Today I wouldn't sign for that," said Zidane when asked if he would settle for winning Madrid's 11th Champions League at the expense of La Liga.

"I think we have a better chance of winning the league (now) because we keep on getting closer. We believe it's possible and against Getafe we showed from the start that we wanted to do everything right. We played a fantastic game, but now we have to keep going because we still haven't achieved anything."

Madrid will face Manchester City in the Champions League semi-finals after a rousing comeback to beat Wolfsburg 3-2 on aggregate in midweek, thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick.

Ronaldo was on target once more with his 47th goal of the season to round off the scoring. But it was Karim Benzema who shone at Getafe just days after it was confirmed he will not take part at Euro 2016.

The French Football Federation announced on Wednesday that Benzema will not be available for selection due to his role in a sex-tape blackmail plot against fellow French international Mathieu Valbuena.

Zidane had advised his striker not to let his head drop and he responded by sweeping home the first goal to register his best scoring season in La Liga with 22.

Benzema then teed up Isco and Gareth Bale either side of half-time before late goals from James Rodriguez and Ronaldo sealed another comprehensive win.

"It did affect him and yes he is disappointed, but he is a professional and he knows that on the field he is very important for the team," Zidane said of his compatriot. "Today he scored and had two assists, so he is very concentrated on what he is doing."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2016, with the headline 'Zidane has eye on chasing Barca'. Print Edition | Subscribe