Zidane says unhappy with Real’s opponent in Champions League quarters

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Madrid, March 17 (IANS) Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane on Saturday said he would rather not face his former football team after having drawn Serie A side Juventus for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

Juventus is scheduled to host Real Madrid on April 3, while the second leg is to be played on April 11, according to the draw held on Friday at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, reports Efe.

“I spent five years there and it was an important club for me. Being able to face them is emotional. In fact, I would have preferred to avoid them for plenty of reasons. It’s a tie that will come shortly. I’ll be focused, as will the players, and I’ll try to leave everything I experienced there aside,” Zidane said at a press conference on the eve of the La Liga game against Girona.

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Zidane said he expected to face a strong team, as his side did in the 2016/2017 Champions League final when Real Madrid defeated Juventus 4-1.

“(Juventus) is very competitive and the tie will be complicated and difficult. As always, in the tie (the chances) will be 50 percent. We will play the first game there and we will see,” he added.

The French coach declined to comment on reports that link Paris Saint Germain’s Brazilian star Neymar with a move to Real Madrid.

“Everyone is free to say whatever he wants. He is a very good player, but he does not play for Real Madrid. I speak about our players. These are your comments. Speaking about a player who is not ours is not good. We respect PSG and we cannot think about these things,” he added.

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–IANS

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