Zinedine Zidane was quizzed about Gareth Bale at lenght at Friday’s press conference at Real Madrid City. Our head coach also discusses the match against Real Sociedad (Saturday, 21:00 CET), Rodrygo, Mourinho’s relationship with Florentino and more.
Read on for a full transcript:
WHAT’S DANGEROUS ABOUT SOCIEDAD
“Everything. Their whole game in general. They’re a very young team, that takes a lot of risks, that likes to play and I’m not surprised. They’ve always been a good team, but this year with the incorporation of young players they are even better technically. They always try to play and at least the people who come to the stadium will see a good game.
“It’s complicated. It’s what it is, we know the situation and this is not going to change. We have a lot of players who always go away with the national teams and we accept that. Then we have a short amount of time, we’ve had 48 hours to prepare but we adapt to that and we’re ready to play our game, which is an important one for us tomorrow.”
“It’s a bit of a complicated position. There are players who can play in this position, but he does it very well. On the subject of the break, he’s rested a bit with the national team.”
“I’m trying to manage him as best as I can, not put all the pressure on his shoulders. The fact that he’s here shouldn’t surprise anyone, he’s shown that with his quality he can play in this team. We have 25 players in the squad, they’re all going to contribute and they’re going to play. There are players who will play less and for me that is the most difficult thing, to leave players at home after training all week. He has to be prepared and he has shown that even though he is only 18 years old, in reality, there is no minimum age to play football.”
“He looks good. He’s playing in the Spanish League with a very good team that we will come up against tomorrow. Since the beginning of the season he’s looked good, contributing a lot to the team. We’re not going to talk about the future. The important thing is that he is well, he is playing well and that is good for him. Not for us tomorrow. I’m going to think about doing things right”.
MOURINHO’S RELATIONSHIP WITH FLORENTINO
“I’m fine with the relationship he may have with our president. If that’s the case, great. Florentino brought me here, as a player, and I’ve experienced things at this great club thanks to him. I’ve been here for almost 18 years and I’ll always be grateful to him. I would only coach Real Madrid in Spain. I’m a White, you either are or you aren’t.”
“I think we do a lot of things and make a lot of noise about Bale and the most important thing for me as a coach and for him as a player is to concentrate on football. Everyone has their own opinion and it’s one thing that’s already too much. You know the situation, he’s been with the national team, he’s been able to play and now he’s with us. He’s given a lot to the club and I’m only going to look at sports because outside there are a lot of comments and I’m not here for that. I know a lot of people are interested, but I’m not.
“When you look at what Bale has given to this club… the fans, the real ones, the ones who feel the colours, the ones who are here for the club, the people who are going to come to the stadium know that Bale is part of our team and they have to be with him because he is with us. I’ll always be with the players, things can happen outside, but we’ll always look out on to the pitch, we don’t control what’s outside. I talked to Bale like I talk to all the players. He’s fine, he’s trained normally.
“Gareth is an important player, he’s always proved it and he can be a decisive player again. If he’s okay and something doesn’t happen to him, he’s a very important player, he’s proved it. Everyone who’s injured is different, but when he’s well, and now he’s well, I’m going to count on him and you know it. I don’t know, I think he wants to play. We’ve got a lot of games to play, important ones too, and he’s going to be involved.”
IS BALE HAPPIER IN WALES?
“He said so, maybe because of the language. For the goal in the final of the Champions League he looked very happy to me, with Real Madrid, as an example. It’s only due to the language, the rest of the dressing room is fine. What I can say about Bale is that he’s available and that’s why I’m happy for the team. We know what Bale can bring for us. He’s my player, I’m the coach of Real Madrid and that’s what interests me. Then the rest can have their say.”
THE MATCH AGAINST PSG
“Tomorrow is the most important game and I don’t look any further ahead. We just have to think about tomorrow’s match. The players also think the same, and if we do well tomorrow in the match, on Tuesday we will have a better chance of doing well.
“The most important game is tomorrow’s. But with regard to the players who are going to play the match on Tuesday, for me it’s important that PSG’s best play. We know their offensive strength and it’s good to know which team we’re going to play against. They don’t have injuries and I like that.”