MANCHESTER, Sporting Alert – Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has declared Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema both fit for Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg.
Ronaldo was missing in action during Saturday’s comeback 3-2 victory at Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish La Liga after sustaining a thigh muscle strain and was a major doubt for the trip to Manchester.
However, the former Manchester United forward has been responding well to training and Zidane expects him to play.
Meanwhile, fellow attacker Benzema also travelled with the Spanish giants and is expected to feature as well.
The Frenchman was forced to leave the game this weekend by a knee problem he picked before half time.
“The idea is that we want them to play tomorrow, of course,” the Real Madrid boss told his pre-match press conference at City’s Etihad Stadium on Monday.
“We have the last training session now, so we’ll see. They’re absolutely fine at the moment. I think they’ll be fine.
“They’re 100 percent, but we’ll test everything. The idea is that they’ll play.”
The Frenchman singled out forward Sergio Aguero and winger Kevin De Bruyne as two of the players to watch for, citing that they are both in good form.
“They are capable of hurting you and we’re going to try to make sure that they don’t,” Zidane said. “The plan is to defend when we don’t have possession and try to hurt them when we do.
“De Bruyne is in good form and we’ll be trying to stop him. He’s a good player and he’s shown all of his quality since he joined the club.
“He links up very well with Agüero, and we’ll have to see what happens tomorrow.”
Zidane also noted that the important thing in the semi-finals is to give “150-percent.”
“The important thing in a semi-final is that you give 150 percent,” he said. “Anything can happen in a game of football.
“You can prepare for it well, but it then the game turns out differently to how you thought it would.
“There are two games to come, first up we’ve got tomorrow’s game, and we’ll give our all here against a tough opposition at a tricky ground.”