Cape Town - Real
Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane said he believes his team’s season is
finally coming together as the defending champions moved into the last
eight of the Champions League.
Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro helped Madrid to a 2-1 win
in Paris and a 5-2 aggregate victory as Madrid chase a third straight
Champions League title.
Edinson Cavani equalised for PSG, but the hosts never looked like
overhauling their 3-1 first leg deficit, especially after Marco Verratti
received a second yellow card for dissent.
With the La Liga title seemingly out of reach (Madrid sit 15 points
behind leaders Barcelona), Zidane called on his side to stay united.
"We've had difficult moments in the Liga and Copa del Rey, but it's
always difficult to maintain the same level while playing every three
"You can't always win everything, but we're winning now in the Liga
and we have to look ahead to our game with Eibar on Saturday."
"Paris were perhaps not as good, but that's maybe because we played
well. After the sending-off and the second goal, it got more difficult
Zidane also addressed speculation that Gareth Bale, who came on as a
second-half substitute, would possibly leave Madrid, saying he was an
important part of his plans.
"I respect all the players, including Gareth Bale. He wasn't a
starter in either leg, but he's a very important player who causes lots
of trouble to the opposition. We have to stay united, as we were
Zidane’s opposite number Unai Emery was understandably upset after
seeing his side exit the competition in the last 16 for the second
season running, adding that conceding two goals in the last 10 minutes
of the first leg had proved crucial.
"We all want to win this competition quickly. We'll continue with patience, and build a team that can win,” he said.
"I'm sure this team can win the Champions League. The supporters will see that Paris will win this competition one day.
"Losing to Madrid is not a disappointment, but going out in the last
16 is. But, the first leg was the key because we were better over the
first 80 minutes than them.
"They controlled 60% of this match and we couldn't do enough in the 40% we controlled."