Real Madrid winger Asensio: Zidane Messi story is true

Annette Crawford
September 13, 2017

It emerged last season that Zidane had given Asensio pep talk by mentioning the Barcelona star.

Asensio said the Frenchman had compared him to Barcelona maestro Messi, who is arguably the best player in the world.

Real Madrid chief coach Zinedine Zidane on Tuesday said the return of Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo after serving a ban gives the squad confidence as the record European football champions begin their UEFA Champions League title defence against Apoel.

'We thought it was odd that Neymar left Barcelona, ' he said.

"I prefer Cristiano to be with us always".

"Cristiano doesn't just contribute goals, he's a leader, he always wants to win and he transmits that to everyone else".

"He's going to play tomorrow, but we're not going to have him on Sunday". Ronaldo will soon return after suspension, but Benzema will miss the next six weeks with a knee injury and Gareth Bale is short of confidence, so could Morata's goals have made a difference?

Madrid went on to win their first league game of the season in his absence, but that was followed by successive home draws with Valencia and Levante.

Zidane was critical of his side after their display at the weekend, but said he and his players were relaxed despite drawing back-to-back league games for the first time in a year.

The last time a player who wasn't Ronaldo or Messi won the Ballon d'Or was a decade ago in 2007 when Brazilian Kaka picked up the award and that doesn't look like changing this year.

Zidane, however, addressed the club's shortage of striking options and said that he regrets Alvaro Morata's £70 million (S$124 million) move to Chelsea.

"What interests me is that everyone can play".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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