Zidane dismisses talk of rift with Ronaldo

Mon Sep 26, 2016 1:55pm EDT
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By Richard Martin

DORTMUND, Germany (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane denied on Monday there was a rift between him and Cristiano Ronaldo after the team's talisman appeared to react angrily to being substituted in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Las Palmas.

Ronaldo's response to being taken off in the 72nd minute of the game has been the subject of much attention in the Spanish media in the build up to Tuesday's heavyweight Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund.

Zidane, however, said the incident has already been forgotten.

"Everything is normal. Cristiano wasn't the only one angry after the game but it's over now and we are thinking about tomorrow’s game," the Frenchman told a news conference on Tuesday.

"I understand the level of attention it received but it is what it is. I took the decision in the best (interests) of the player and that's not going to change anything.

"We have spoken about it. I'm not dumb and he's intelligent. We all have the same objectives, the two of us and the rest of the team."

Ronaldo, the all-time top scorer in the competition with 94 goals, has struggled to regain fitness and form since limping off in the Euro 2016 final with a knee injury.

The prolific Portuguese has averaged over a goal per game in his seven seasons with Real but has made a slow start to his eighth campaign, missing three games with injury and scoring two goals in four appearances, completing 90 minutes twice.   Continued...

Football Soccer - Real Madrid Training - San Siro Stadium, Milan, Italy - 27/5/16
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo during training
Reuters / Stefano Rellandini