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Furious Zidane hits out at Real Madrid 'jealousy'

Omnisport
NEWS
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4.37K   //    14 Apr 2018, 17:34 IST
zinedine zidane - cropped
Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane has accused those who think Real Madrid were lucky to reach the Champions League semi-finals of being jealous of their success.

The holders progressed to the last four in dramatic fashion on Wednesday, as an injury-time penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo sealed a 4-3 aggregate win over Juventus, who had raced into a 3-0 second-leg lead at the Santiago Bernabeu to level the tie.

The decision to penalise Medhi Benatia for bundling Lucas Vazquez to the ground has caused significant debate even among the Spanish press, with many praising referee Michael Oliver for the call and others accusing Vazquez of going to ground too easily.

Gianluigi Buffon was sent off for his protests against Oliver and was scathing of the official's performance after the match, although Juve great Alessandro Del Piero felt the penalty was the right call.

The incident dominated Zidane's pre-match news conference ahead of Madrid's LaLiga clash with Malaga on Sunday, and the former France star admitted talk of a "robbery" has left him angry.

"There are anti-Madridistas, we cannot change that," said the Madrid boss. "We can only just keep doing what we are doing, keep doing our work.

"Nobody can change the history of this club. No matter what is written or said, it is the best club in the world. And when you are the best, it creates jealousy.

"Everyone can decide what they want, if it's a penalty or not. I get indignant when they say it was a robbery. I'm going to defend my own players. We deserved to go through.

"It's normal for people to talk. I don't understand it when they say it was a robbery. Juve played a great game but we deserved to progress. We're in the semi-finals. Three days talking about the same thing is too much.

"I'm disappointed that they say we're through because of the referee. We can talk about the penalty: for me, it is, and for others it isn't. I can't believe they say we went through thanks to the referee, that it was a robbery. It's not true.

"The beauty of football is that everything can happen. We didn't play a bad game, we played a good game, but the ball didn't go in and that created some anxiety for us. But I liked it, it was very exciting, and in the end we went through.

"People are a bit obsessed [with Madrid], but we can do nothing about that. All we can do is our own work, try and prepare well. We think we played well and deserved over the two games to go through."

There have been calls for Buffon to apologise for his reaction, with Oliver's wife having received vitriolic messages on social media, but Zidane felt the veteran goalkeeper simply lost his cool.

"Buffon said what he said. It is a heated moment, even if it was a little bit later," he said. "We must accept his feelings. We deserved to go through to the semis, which is what interests me most."

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