September 18, 2019, 14:35

Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema Real Madrid goals were coming, says Zinedine Zidane

Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema Real Madrid goals were coming, says Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane insists it was only a matter of time before Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema returned to goalscoring form after both netted twice in the 6-0 thrashing of APOEL Nicosia.

Zidane’s men clinched a berth in the Champions League last 16 and had the match won by half-time with goals from Luka Modric, Nacho and a Benzema double.

Ronaldo scored his customary goals early in the second half as his two strikes saw him reach 18 goals in the competition in 2017 – more than any single player in a calendar year.

Benzema headed into the game having notched just twice this season and had failed to find the target in the Champions League since February, while Ronaldo still has just one goal to his name in La Liga – but Zidane has never been concerned.

He said: “I’m happy for them [Ronaldo and Benzema], they keep on working. We knew it was going to happen, that their goals would come. Now they have to keep working like this.

“We know they’re both very good. Now we have to think about the next game. We are on the right track and doing things well. We continue to grow in the game because it is never easy to get six goals away from home.

“We can say that it has been a game against a weak opponent, but it is not true. We played a serious game, we scored early and kept a clean sheet.”

Madrid recorded the largest away victory in Europe’s premier competition in 39 years – dating back to 1978 – as the Spanish champions steamrolled the Cypriot minnows.

But the two-time defending Champions League winners will have to settle for second place in their group with Tottenham’s 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund securing top spot in Group H.

Zidane’s side finished second to Dortmund at the group stage last season before going on to lift the trophy, so he is not overly concerned by facing a group winner in the first knockout stage.

He added: “It’s a very good day for us and the most important thing is that we progressed from the group. We cannot do anything about the group anymore. We will play two games and try to get through the knockout round.

“Our rivals think it will be difficult to face us. We cannot change this and any opponent that faces us will be good. We’re going to play against a side that has finished first and that means they’ve qualified phenomenally.”


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