Zinedine Zidane has refuted the insinuation made by Gerard Pique that referees favour Real Madrid over Barcelona.
The central defender made his comments following his side’s 0-0 draw with Sevilla on Friday, with many inferring a reference to VAR’s controversial decision not to award Valencia a goal in their clash against Los Blancos the day before.
A dejected Pique insisted it would be ‘very difficult’ for Barcelona to win La Liga this season, claiming it’s not ‘our hands anymore’.
Pique added, more pointedly: “Seeing what we’ve seen in the last two rounds of fixtures, it will be complicated.”
This apparent nod to refereeing bias in Madrid‘s favour was rubbished by Zidane, however, who made it clear he feels such claims are unjust.
“No. I am very direct. I don’t think so,” the Frenchman said in response to supposed refereeing bias (via ESPN). “People can say one thing or another. What I am interested in is the game tomorrow. I have my opinion, but I won’t tell you what I think about Pique or anyone.”
With Barça managing only a draw in their most recent clash, Madrid will have the chance on Sunday to move ahead of the table toppers with victory over Real Sociedad. A win would see them move level on points, but their superior head-to-head record would sneak them into top spot.
“[Barca’s draw] doesn’t change anything,” Zidane continued. “This is our third game, we have talked about playing 11 finals, and we will prepare thinking about giving everything on the pitch and nothing else.”
Marco Asensio made a goalscoring return for Madrid following a 10-month injury layoff
A player who could play a big part in the final run-in is Marco Asensio. Following a long-term injury layoff, the Spaniard made his first appearance against Valencia in fantastic style, grabbing himself a goal and an assist. While it was the perfect return for Asensio, Zidane insisted they must take it easy with the midfielder after ten months out injured.
He concluded: “We have to go step-by-step [with Asensio]. We must stay calm. We are ambitious, but we can’t forget he has been out for 10 months and that’s a long time.”