MADRID: Real Madrid warmed up for their crunch meeting against Barcelona by thrashing Sevilla 4-0 on Sunday and coach Zinedine Zidane believes his team “can do great things” if they match the performance they produced against Unai Emery’s side. Zidane was able to start Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo together for the first time since Jan. 17 and he highlighted the impact his three key forwards had on the game.
“It’s only the third time (since he became coach) we’ve had them playing and it’s so important to have all your players available, it gives you a big boost,” he said. French striker Benzema marked his return from three weeks out with a hamstring problem by meeting a cross from Bale on the half volley to put Madrid ahead after six minutes.
Ronaldo made up for a penalty miss by doubling the home side’s lead midway through the second half before Benzema teed up Bale for Madrid’s third, which saw the Wales winger become the all-time top scoring British player in La Liga. Substitute Jese netted late on to complete the rout. “If we play like this all the time we can do great things and the players know it,” Zidane told a news conference. “But every game is different and we need to put in the same levels of intensity and have the same commitment in all of them. If we do that I’ll have nothing to be worried about.”
Should all his players return from international duty unscathed, Zidane can take a full squad to the Nou Camp on April 2 to face arch rivals Barcelona, who blew a twogoal lead to draw 2-2 with Villarreal on Sunday. Although Luis Enrique’s side sit 10 points above his side, Zidane is feeling optimistic about the game. “It’s always best to go after a victory and we have proved a lot today,” he added. “It’s a different game, a special game. We know we’re ready. It’ll be a great game between two great teams.” — Reuters