Zinedine Zidane: “Cristiano Ronaldo can be replaced just like anyone else”
What’s the story?
Cristiano Ronaldo despite the brilliant game he had for Real Madrid against Athletic Bilbao was substituted around the 75th minute of the game. Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane speaking after the game said, “We tried to have more balance with Isco in the midfield and we changed to 4-4-2. Cristiano can be replaced just like anyone else. He finished the match very happy because of the victory we achieved”.
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In case you didn’t know..
Real Madrid are five points clear of Barcelona at the top of the La Liga table thanks to goals from Karim Benzema and Casemiro as Zidane’s side sidestepped a potentially difficult tie away at the home of Athletic Bilbao at the San Mamés Stadium.
Real Madrid took the lead via a beautiful move started by Casemiro, who found Cristiano Ronaldo behind the Bilbao defence. The four-time Ballon d’Or winner promptly found Karim Benzema with the left-footed cross which the Frenchman finished into the bottom corner.
Athletic Bilbao drew level from a cross from the right wing which was finally headed in by Aduritz past Keylor Navas. However, Bilbao’s defence conceded from a corner when the ball fortuitously fell at the feet of Casemiro who kept his composure to sidefoot in from close range. The Madrid giants held on for a valuable three points.
The heart of the matter
Cristiano Ronaldo substituted especially when there is an international break after the game is something of a surprise. The Real Madrid all-time top-scorer is one of those who likes to stay in the thick of the things throughout the campaign.
But, the fact he was replaced might just be a sign of the advancing years for the Portuguese, and with Real Madrid defending a lead the manager wanted fresher legs to counter the threat posed by the Basque club.
The fact that a Real Madrid manager said something along the lines of Cristiano Ronaldo being replaceable as anyone else is the sign of changing times at the home of the Champions League winners. It shows what Zinedine Zidane is trying to build at Real Madrid, a team which is the sum of its parts rather than a foil to elevate the individual.