Zi­dane stands by no guard of hon­our call

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - SOCCER -

REAL MADRID coach Zine­dine Zi­dane has de­fended the de­ci­sion for his play­ers not to form a guard of hon­our for La Liga cham­pi­ons Barcelona in tonight’s Cla­sico at the Nou Camp.

Ernesto Valverde’s Barca clinched the ti­tle last week­end with a 4-2 vic­tory at De­portivo La Coruna.

Zi­dane is irked that the Cata­lan club did not see his side out onto the pitch af­ter their Club World Cup tri­umph in De­cem­ber.

“They did not do it (for us) and we, with re­spect, are not go­ing to do it be­cause they did not do it,” ad­mit­ted Zi­dane.

The de­posed cham­pi­ons head to Barcelona 15 points adrift of their hosts and amid re­ports they may rest the likes of Cris­tiano Ron­aldo and Ser­gio Ramos with one eye on their Cham­pi­ons League fi­nal date with Liv­er­pool later this month, but Zi­dane in­sists there will be no lack of mo­ti­va­tion from the vis­i­tors.

“You do not have to think about the in­juries, and have to play the match with in­ten­sity, which is the best way to pre­pare for the fi­nal,” said the French­man, whose side sit third but still have sec­ond-placed Atletico Madrid in their sights.

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