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 in the Champions League final.
Zidane’s Real side face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in Wednesday’s semi-final second leg, aiming to reach their first final in three years.
Captain Ramos is back with Real after a month of calf problems, while ex-Chelsea talisman Hazard finally rocked a frustrating streak of injury.
Zidane brushed aside any fears about the fitness of Spain mainstay Ramos, before tipping Hazard to return to top form on his former playing field.
“I’m not going to take any chances, Sergio is with us and that means he’s ready to play, that’s all,” Zidane said.
“I’m not going to tell you now if Sergio will play or any other player.
“He’s here with us and that means he’s okay, that’s the most important thing for us, to have our leader with us, to have our captain with us. Like I said before, all the players who are here with us are ready.
“We are in the Champions League semi-finals, we are all going to fight to the death on the pitch. All the players are ready to play, and of course I have to choose a team.
“All the players are ready to play, don’t worry.”
Asked if this would be the perfect time for Hazard to reach his climax after two years of injury at Real, Zidane continued: “It’s a good time for that, it’s a good time for him, and I think he’s ready, and that’s great for us.
“We’re going to need Eden.
“We know how good a player he is and he will definitely help the team.
“Eden is here with us, he is ready, he is prepared.
“We know the quality he’s got. He’s going to bring his natural game and he’s going to show what he wants to do there. I’m happy with that.”
Zidane’s Real have struggled through periods of sterile form, injury issues and Covid-19 issues in a piecemeal campaign – but also a season that could yet give a brace in the league and Champions League.
The former French playmaker praised his side for leading Madrid towards the end of business of the season with still high hopes of a scintillating final.
“Like we said, we’ve had challenges, we’ve had tough times during the season,” Zidane said.
“But you really have to take your hat off to the team because they have a lot of character.
“They have personality, and when the going gets tough, they always pull up, they’ve shown it.
“They are the best players in the world in my eyes, and they always showed it.
“Of course there have been challenges, but we are where we want to be, and especially where we deserve to be.”