Zidane hopes for speedy Ron return

Real Madrid failed to breach Manchester City's defence with Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo sitting out the first-leg stalemate due to injury.
Real Madrid failed to breach Manchester City's defence with Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo sitting out the first-leg stalemate due to injury. PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

MANCHESTER • Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane expressed hope on Tuesday that both Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema will be fit for their Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City.

Ronaldo sat out the first leg at the Etihad Stadium, which finished goal-less, with a thigh strain, while Benzema, who had been a pre-match doubt with a knee problem, went off at half-time.

Zidane had declared both players "100 per cent" fit in Monday's pre-match press conference, but said Ronaldo had "felt something" during the final training session.

"I said 100 per cent, but I did say there was still training and we'd take a look," said Zidane, whose side resume hostilities with City at the Bernabeu next Wednesday.

"Cristiano felt something after that last training session. That's why he didn't play.

"Karim, it was a little bit different. But at the end of the day, little by little, he felt a little bit worse in himself. We don't want to gamble with his fitness. We know how important both players are for us.

"We hope that they can both be fit in time for the second leg. That's the idea.

"We can't say right now. We have to see and have to take it day by day with both of them and see how they are," the Frenchman added.

Ronaldo, who leads this season's Champions League scoring charts with 16 goals, watched Tuesday's game from the bench, while Benzema came off for Jese at half-time.

Meanwhile, City playmaker David Silva also suffered a hamstring injury after making a first-half challenge on Gareth Bale which earned him a booking.

Manuel Pellegrini was not optimistic about Silva's chances of gracing the Bernabeu.

"It is quite tough for him to recover in one week," said the Chilean.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2016, with the headline 'Zidane hopes for speedy Ron return'. Print Edition | Subscribe