Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has expressed hope that influential captain Sergio Ramos could return in time for the second leg of the Champions League semi-final next week, but admitted it may be touch and go because the veteran defender still hasn’t returned to training.
Ramos has only played three times in all competitions since the turn of the calendar year and missed both legs of the quarter-final win over Liverpool. He was still absent for the 1-1 first leg draw against Chelsea at Valdebebas on Tuesday night, but there is a chance he could be back for the return fixture.
“I hope he’ll be with us, but I don’t know right now. Sergio still hasn’t trained with the team, so we’re waiting to see if he joins the group. I hope he can return as soon as possible,” Zidane said of the situation, via RealMadrid.com.
Real were also without usual left-back Ferland Mendy and versatile midfielder Fede Valverde for the game, serving as additional blows to Los Blancos. Again, Zidane is hopeful of them also returning in time for next week’s trip to Stamford Bridge.
“The same goes for the other players out injured. Sergio, Lucas [Vazquez], whose injury is more complex, Ferland, Fede. I want all my players to be available.”
Chelsea’s away goal puts Real at a slight disadvantage ahead of the second leg in London, but Zidane was pleased with how his team coped in challenging circumstances and is well aware that they have to play on the front foot to score in the next game.
“There are struggles because you’re up against another team, it’s a Champions League semi-final and you’ve got to dig in,” he said. “But I’m delighted for them because we’re still in it and we now know that we have to go to London and score goals and try and win the game.”