Zinedine Zidane has insisted that Eden Hazard, Sergio Ramos and all his Real Madrid stars are ready to “fight to the death” to beat Chelsea to the Champions League final.
Zidane’s Real side will take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in Wednesday’s semi-final second leg, in a bid to reach their first final in three years.
Captain Ramos is back in the Real squad after a month of calf trouble, while ex-Chelsea talisman Hazard has finally shaken off a frustrating sequence of injuries.
Zidane dismissed any fears over Spain stalwart Ramos’ fitness, before tipping Hazard to find top form on his old stomping ground.
“I’m not going to be taking a risk, Sergio is with us and that means that he is ready to play; that’s it,” said Zidane.
“I’m not going to tell you now about whether Sergio will play or any other player.
“He’s here with us and that means that he is fine, that’s the most important thing for us, to have our leader with us, to have our captain with us. As I said before all of the players that are here with us are ready. All of them.
“We’re in the Champions League semi-finals, we are all going to fight to the death out there on the pitch. All the players are ready to play, and then of course I have to pick a team.
“All the players are ready to play, don’t worry.”
Asked if now would be the perfect time for Hazard to hit his peak after an injury-plagued two years at Real, Zidane continued: “It’s a great time for it, it’s a great time for him, and I think he’s prepared, and that’s very good for us.
“We’re going to need Eden.
“We know what a good player he is, and he’s definitely going to be helping the team.
“Eden is here with us, he’s ready, he’s prepared.
“We know the quality that he has. He’s going to bring his natural game and he’s going to show what he wants to do out there. I’m pleased with that.”
Zidane’s Real have battled through barren spells of form, injury concerns and Covid-19 issues in a piecemeal campaign – but also a season that could yet yield a league and Champions League double.
The former France playmaker hailed his team for driving Madrid towards the season’s business end with hopes still high for a glittering finale.
“As we’ve said we’ve had challenges, we’ve had tough moments during the season,” said Zidane.
“But you really have to tip your hat to the team, because they have great character.
“They have personality, and when things get tough they always step up; they’ve shown that.
“They are the best players around in my eyes, and they’ve always shown that.
“Of course there have been challenges, but we are where we want to be, and above all where we deserve to be.”