Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane focused on the present

Updated: Feb 03, 2018, 12:08 IST | IANS

Ahead a key La Liga away match against Levante, Real Madrid's head coach Zinedine Zidane shrugged off speculation that his future at the capital football club depended on its success in the Champions League

Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane

Ahead a key La Liga away match against Levante, Real Madrid's head coach Zinedine Zidane shrugged off speculation that his future at the capital football club depended on its success in the Champions League and insisted that he would take each match as it comes. La Liga title defenders Madrid, due to travel to Valencia for Saturday's match against Levante, were recently knocked out of the Copa del Rey by neighbouring minnows Leganes and currently trailed their arch-nemesis Barcelona by 19 points in the La Liga, reports Efe.

"I'm not thinking about what is going to happen next year," Zidane said when asked whether his future as head coach hinged on winning the Champions League, in which Madrid are due to take on Paris Saint-Germain at the Bernabeu in the first leg of the round of 16 on February 14. "I am here to think about the day-to-day, about each match. They say the league is over, but I don't believe that. We will keep working our hardest," he said, adding that the players should avoid thinking too much about the game against PSG and instead keep focused on the league. Real Madrid were currently in fourth place in La Liga, two points behind Valencia and eight behind second-placed Atletico de Madrid, another perpetual rival.

A win against Levante would keep Madrid afloat above Villareal, who are hot on their heels just one point adrift, although the Spanish capital's club has a game in hand. Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the group training before traveling to Valencia. Defenders Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane also participated in the training session, appearing to be fully recovered from their injuries and ready to play against Levante.

After two days of absence, Ronaldo returned to train with his teammates under the guidance of Zidane, without any apparent effects of the muscle pain that forced him to train alone this week. Meanwhile, the injured Jesus Vallejo and Dani Ceballos continued to be absent from the group session, while Isco Alarcon returned to train after recovering from his hip problems.

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