I hope it's the last time – Zidane relieved to welcome back Ronaldo
Zinedine Zidane hopes Real Madrid will not have to make do without Cristiano Ronaldo again as the Portugal star prepares to make his comeback against Real Betis.
The 32-year-old is set to make his first LaLiga appearance of the season on Wednesday, having served a five-game domestic ban for pushing the referee after being sent off in the Supercopa de Espana first-leg win over Barcelona.
Zidane is delighted to welcome Ronaldo back to the team and says he looks thrilled to be able to return.
"We will not discuss the suspension, we are glad that he is back and I hope that to be the last time we have to do without him," Zidane told a news conference. "I see that Cristiano is happy, because what he likes is to play and to be with his team-mates.
"He's coming back for a league game at home and we know everyone likes to play in this stadium."
Ronaldo scored twice when he played in the 3-0 Champions League win over APOEL at the Santiago Bernabeu but watched his side slip to draws at home to Valencia and Levante in LaLiga in his absence.
Betis boss Quique Setien is unhappy the former Manchester United man will be unleashed against his side.
"Cristiano is a voracious player in front of goal. Everyone wants to stop him and nobody can stop him," he said.
"Every time you face him, you run the risk of him scoring another goal, because his percentage is very high compared to others."
Gareth Bale has been subjected to jeers from fans for some of his displays during Ronaldo's absence, but the Wales international scored a brilliant goal in Madrid's 3-1 win at Real Sociedad last weekend.
Zidane thinks Bale is short of his best but is confident he is on track to recapture that level of form.
"It's coming little by little. It will take time to see the best Bale. But he's doing well, very well," he said.
"I think it's not incorrect to say that, when there is space, he can do damage, because of the speed he has. We saw that with his goal the other day. But, Gareth is also very good technically.
"He can also play without space, he handles himself well there. It does not hurt him to play with the ball and to bring others into play.
"For me, he is a complete player."