No blame on Spain for Ramos injury, says Real boss Zidane

Joseph Walker
·2-min read
La Liga Santander - Celta Vigo v Real Madrid

By Joseph Walker

MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said he does not blame Spain for captain Sergio Ramos's latest injury ahead of the season's run-in.

Central defender Ramos picked up a calf injury while doing warm-down exercises with Spain after their 3-1 victory over Kosovo on Wednesday. He came on as an 86th-minute substitute in the World Cup qualifier.

The 35-year-old looks set to be absent for both legs of the upcoming Champions League quarter-final meeting with Liverpool, as well as next Saturday's Clasico against Barcelona.

Local media reported Ramos will miss the next month as Real seek to defend their La Liga crown and claw back six points on league leaders Atletico Madrid.

Zidane, however, was his usual sanguine self when asked about the situation.

"We always want Sergio to be fit and available, but now we just have to focus on the players who we've got," Zidane told a news conference ahead of Saturday's visit of 18th-placed Eibar.

"Nobody's to blame for the injury. These things happen in football, the part of the game we don't like. But things happen and you just have to accept them.

"I'd obviously like to have all my players fit, but that's not the case. We've got 10 games to go in La Liga and we need to focus."

There was also good news for Zidane, however, with Toni Kroos and Eden Hazard returning to training. Hazard has been left out of the squad for Saturday, but Kroos returns along with Mariano Diaz and Alvaro Odriozola.

"There's a lot of games coming thick and fast and we won't do anything stupid. We'll see how to manage it," Zidane said of how the returning players would be handled.

"We don't have a plan with Hazard but we won't be pushing him. We want to go little by little. If that's three days time, then great, but if it's 10 days then so be it. We're happy he's recovering."

(Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Toby Davis and Hugh Lawson)