Zidane says Real Madrid won’t give Barcelona gaurd of honour
Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that his team will not give La Liga Champions Barcelona a guard of honour when the sides met in El Clasico on Sunday.
Zidane said Los Blancos may offer a tribute to departing Andres Iniesta in his final Clasico but ruled off giving a guard of honour to Barcelona as the Catalan club have not deemed it necessary in the past.
“He’s a player we admire, not just any other player, and we all know how he is as a person,” Zidane said.
“We will shake his hand, congratulate him and give him the best of luck for the future.”
“I’m not the one who decides, after the Club World Cup I understand that it wasn’t important for them to do a guard of honour,” Zidane explained.
“Some say that they weren’t in the competition but it’s a lie, you have to win the Champions League to play in the Club World Cup and we are all in the Champions League.
“I’m not the one who decides that I don’t want to give a guard of honour, they didn’t do one.
“With respect, we won’t do it because they didn’t do it.
“What’s most important is that we respect what Barcelona have done, winning the league is the most beautiful and difficult thing for me.
The former France international however, hinted that his team may not be at full strength for the trip to the Camp Nou though heavy rotation is unlikely.
“We have a game which won’t change the league table, but we want to play well and do everything possible to win,” he said.
“With the injured players, if they have a setback then they won’t play.
“We have lots of options to replace them, [Raphael] Varane and Isco will, in theory, travel.”
Coming to the end of the league season, Madrid sit in third place and face a fight with Atletico to climb to second, but Zidane evaluated the season positively.
“It’s not a failure, it’s not a good season in the league but a failure? No, you can’t say that,” he insisted.
He also addressed critics who have claimed that Real Madrid have benefitted from refereeing decisions in Europe, helping them to reach the final in Kiev on May 26.
“I’m not going to get involved in that, it’s all untrue,” he said, looking irritated.
“We deserve to be in the final, we’ve won, with difficulty as it should be, but you can’t reduce what we’ve done down to the topic of refereeing.
“We value what we have done, which is what matters to us, we fought and we ran on the pitch and there we were up against PSG, Juventus and Bayern, which isn’t easy.”
Zidane is yet to taste defeat as Real Madrid coach at the Camp Nou and will hope to extend that run on Sunday evening.