In his pre-match press conference on Friday, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane spoke about Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to full fitness and confirmed that the Portuguese will feature in Los Blancos’ lineup against Osasuna on Saturday.
Real Madrid have started their 2016-17 La Liga campaign positively, registering two wins from their opening two games to keep pace with surprise leaders Las Palmas and defending champions Barcelona. It will give Zinedine Zidane’s side a sense of satisfaction that they managed to secure those six points in the absence of star players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
The attacking duo, who were suffering from a knee strain and hip injury respectively, have fast-tracked their recovery during the international break and have made themselves available for the visit of Osasuna.
Zidane confimed in his pre-match press conference (via the official club website): “We’re happy to have him[Cristiano] back with us and we’re going to make sure he feels good. It’s his first game of the season, it’s 60 days since he last played, but tomorrow he’ll be with us and he’s going to play.”
“Benzema will be with us and that’s important too. He’s back to fitness but I can never say for sure that it might not happen again. He feels as good as ever and that’s the main thing, he’s got no more discomfort. If he’s in the squad it’s because he’s back to 100%.”
However, the French manager also confirmed that Real Madrid will be missing the services of a number of players who have just returned to the club following their exploits during the international break.
Marcelo, Casemiro and James Rodriguez are all expected to sit out for the weekend clash at the Santiago Bernabeu as Zidane wants to rest them following their participation in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers for their respective countries. The likes of Keylor Navas, Fabio Coentrao and Isco are yet to return to fitness and will also not play any part on Saturday.
Los Blancos have 7 games over the course of the remaining three weeks in September and Zidane pointed out that he had to ensure his players received enough rest so that they could give 100% effort in each game. He also insisted that all the players in the first team squad would get the opportunity to showcase their qualities in the coming weeks, but would have to be patient.