Zidane hopeful on Ronaldo, Benzema as Madrid give backing to medics


Zinedine Zidane still hopes to have Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema fit to face Manchester City despite suggestions that their injuries are more serious than first thought.

Ronaldo missed the first leg of the Champions League semi-final and Saturday's 1-0 La Liga win over Real Sociedad as a result of a hamstring problem.

Reports in Spain this week have suggested that Madrid medical staff failed to diagnose the severity of Ronaldo's injury, while Benzema was claimed to have sought treatment from a physio sacked by the club some months ago on a hamstring issue of his own.

The rumours have led to increased speculation that Madrid's senior players have lost patience with the medical team and have raised their concerns to the board.

Zidane, however, says both forwards could be available for the meeting with City at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, while director Emilio Butragueno has moved to dismiss any discontent with the medics.

"In my head, I think that they will be ready," Zidane said after the win at Anoeta, which came courtesy of Gareth Bale's late header. "I didn't name the line-up thinking about Wednesday with Isco or Jese [Rodriguez]. I thought that I had to make some changes."

Butragueno added to the assembled media afterwards: "Our confidence [in the medical team] is total. The most important thing is the game on Wednesday. We only think about that and about getting to the final.

"There are still a few days to go. Hopefully all the injured players can be ready for such an important game.

"City will make things difficult. The crowd will be a decisive force for our players. I'm sure they will help us. It's a massive game."