Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has defended his move to start Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard in their Wednesday tie against Chelsea.

Ramos and Hazard looked out in the game with the former being thrown in the mix after a long period out with an injury. Ramos had not played for his club since March 16 owing to two injuries in quick succession plus a spell away from training due to testing positive for Covid-19.

On his side, Hazard was making only his second start in three months, while French left-back Ferland Mendy returned after three weeks out.

“We were playing a semi-final and every player was ready, they wouldn’t have played if they were not,” Zidane said after the game.

Zidane used the same 3-5-2 formation as in the first leg but injuries to Dani Carvajal and Raphael Varane led him to field Brazilian forward Vinicius Jr in the unfamiliar position of right-back a decision he defended too.

“Vini’s best position is on the left-wing but he can also play on the right and today I had to organize the team in this way. But I prefer to focus on what my players have done throughout this season and not just tonight,” he added.

With Madrid missing what could have been their fifth Champions League final in eight years, Zidane urged his side to concentrate on La Liga’s thrilling title race where they are just two points below leaders Atleti.


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