Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane does not believes his players will have revenge on their minds when they travel to Barcelona in Saturday’s Clasico.
Madrid were thrashed 4-0 by their great rivals at the Santiago Bernabeu in November, a result that hastened the downfall of Zidane’s predecessor Rafael Benitez.
Zidane has overseen five straight wins in all competitions since February’s 1-0 derby defeat to Atletico Madrid but accepts facing a Barcelona side 10 points better off than his own at the top of La Liga represents a significant challenge.
“The players know perfectly well what happened [in the previous Clasico],” the Frenchman told his pre-match news conference. “Revenge? No, it’s just a game we want to win.
“We’re on a good run, playing well lately. We keep doing our work. I want to see my team playing as they have been doing lately.
“I will sleep the same as always tonight. I will enjoy tomorrow – my first Barca-Madrid match as a coach. I want to enjoy it.
“It’s a football game. We must remember that and enjoy it – a chance to play against good players and test yourself against Barcelona.
“It is not easy to beat Real Madrid. I want to see a good game of football and my team winning.
“On paper, maybe it’s a different game. But we will not change anything. We will prepare well and start the game strongly.
“For a player, El Clasico is the most beautiful game that exists in football. I’m happy now to live it as a coach.”
Madrid will be without defender Raphael Varane due to a calf problem, but Toni Kroos will be available despite needing treatment after a training ground challenge with Jese Rodriguez on Friday.
“He’s okay, I think he was more in a state of shock,” Zidane said of the Germany midfielder. “The pain was over after training. He will be with us tomorrow.”
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