Real Madrid: What Zinedine Zidane had to say ahead of the Copa Del Rey quarterfinal first leg

MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 17: Head coach Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid attends a press conference at Valdebebas training ground on January 17, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Real Madrid via Getty Images)
MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 17: Head coach Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid attends a press conference at Valdebebas training ground on January 17, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Angel Martinez/Real Madrid via Getty Images) /

Real Madrid will make the short 45-minute drive to the southern part of Madrid Thursday as they look to get the upper hand on Leganes in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey quarterfinals. Here is what manager Zinedine Zidane had to say ahead of the important tie.

All quotes come via the Real Madrid official website.

Opening Statement

"“There are a lot of key aspect for tomorrow. We’re going to play it like a knockout. It’s not a final, but all the games we have now are of huge importance. It’s a match away from home, a cup match and we’ve spoken about it, it’s a cup game and you have to go out and give everything.”“The results are important and it’s important not to concede and score goals. We have to play with intensity from the beginning to the end of the game. It’s important to keep a clean sheet because it’s a knockout game. We’re playing away from home, we don’t want to concede goals and we want to score them. It’s always important to go out like that when you play away. Bearing in mind the difficulty of the game, we’ll be thinking about the two matches as always.”"

On possible squad rotation

“I’m not going to say how we’re going to play. I have everyone available, as always. All the players are important and tomorrow you’ll see how we approach it. I believe in everyone until the end. There is talk that it’s not like last year, that there are players who play less. The players are here and everyone is important and that’s how it’ll be until the end.”

Thoughts on the quick turnarounds between matches

“There is a big difference compared to the last two years. Last year we didn’t progress in the cup and we had more time to work during the week. Right now we play every three days and that’s not possible. It’ll be like that if we continue in the cup and Champions League. It’s a different time and we have to adapt. The last two years can’t be compared.”

On Cristiano Ronaldo’s future

“We know people what are saying, but what Cristiano has to do is think about playing, like he always does. I just want to talk about his performance and what he can bring to the team on the field. Cristiano is at his club, where he should be. The club, the fans and everyone loves him. I always say the same, I can’t imagine Real Madrid without a Cristiano. The footballing side is what interests me the most. People are talking about this at a difficult time talk for the team, but we still believe that things are going to change.”

“I don’t want to talk about the contract or things like that. Cristiano can do that and it’s him and the club who should talk about that. What I talk to Cristiano about are on-field matters. It’s better for everyone. Those upstairs manage it and I don’t get involved.”

On his future with the club

“I don’t overthink anything, I live day to day and I’ll not change that. The situation is what it is today. In the two years that I have been here, when we have won a lot, I’ve always said the same thing. I know the situation and what this club is like and I always go day to day.”

Thoughts on the player’s recent run of form

“Everyone can think what they like. When I had a difficult time, I thought about sticking at my work and that things would improve soon. The best thing about football is that there are a lot of games to change things. You play every three days and you can change the dynamics.”

More from The Real Champs

What he said to the squad during their meeting

“If I think my word have less effect on the squad, I have to go. I think the opposite. We will continue with the hard work and the desire that we all have to turn the situation around. Not to make things better, but to win games. Things can be done better, because when you don’t win it’s for a reason. But we can’t change everything. What we want is to win games, that’s what’ll change the dynamic.”

Thoughts on James Rodriguez’s play with Bayern Munich

“He made that decision. Things are going well and I’m happy for him. I’m just going to talk about my players. I’ve never had a problem with him, they’re decisions, he’s playing and I’m happy for him.”

My thoughts

As he has done the last several press conferences, Zidane is remaining focused on getting his team to where they need to be and blocking out the excess drama and noise from the media.

I thought he did a good job deflecting the two questions regarding Ronaldo’s future and James’ play in Germany. While these are important issues to a manager, they are not pressing matters at this time.

When the members of the media ask these types of questions in press conferences, they are trying to get a sound bite that could shed some light on the internal workings of the club. Zizou is not willing to give up that information and I think that will go a long way with president Florentino Perez.

As for the question regarding his future with the club, I think the answer was appropriate for the setting. I find it a bit off-putting for a reporter to ask this sort of question in a pre-match presser, but Zidane handled himself very professionally and answered the question with a level head (if I were in his shoes, I don’t know if I could have done the same).

Next: Have the Real Madrid players given up on La Liga this season?

The result of this quarterfinal tie could very well decide Zidane’s fate with the club going forward, so to say it is a make-or-break two legs would be an understatement.

Stay tuned to The Real Champs for continued Copa Del Rey coverage!