herald

Sunday 20 August 2017

Zidane urges Ronaldo to answer fans

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

Zinedine Zidane has urged Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo to shrug off any criticism from the club's fans ahead of the second leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with Roma.

Ronaldo, and his Madrid team-mates, were subjected to whistles from the baying Bernabeu crowd on Saturday before blowing Celta Vigo away with the Portuguese scoring four in the 7-1 rout.

A week earlier Los Blancos were beaten 1-0 by cross-city rivals Atletico to all but end their hopes of challenging for the Primera Division title. Real are now 12 points adrift of leaders Barcelona but look well-placed to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, having won the first leg 2-0 in Rome.

Ronaldo took his personal tally in this season's Champions League to 12 with the opener at the Stadio Olimpico while his haul against Celta over the weekend moved him on to 27 Primera Division goals.

Despite being the top scorer in both competitions some Madrid supporters have still called for the 31-year-old to be sold, but boss Zidane has told Ronaldo to ignore the critics.

"I'm not in favour of selling him. I am the coach and I want him," Zidane said. "They (the fans) whistled at me, at everyone. It's not a question of any player in particular, it's the fans who want more from their players and this is better for the players, trying to make them always do their best.

"The fans really love their players in the end and this is very important."

Toni Kroos, who missed the game against Celta Vigo because of a virus, trained, as did Luka Modric who has been struggling with an ankle injury.

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