Zidane urges Real Madrid to come out fighting against Barca

Ferencvaros’ midfielders Eldar Civic and Aissa Laidouni challenge Barcelona’s forward Lionel Messi during a recent football match. (File/AFP)
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Updated 24 October 2020

Zidane urges Real Madrid to come out fighting against Barca

  • Defiant coach: Players must show their character and quality at Saturday’s match

MADRID: Zinedine Zidane says he has the full support of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and has called on his players to turn their season around by beating Barcelona on Saturday.

Madrid and their coach head to Camp Nou under pressure after consecutive defeats to Cadiz in La Liga and Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.
Asked on Friday if he still feels the backing of the club and president, Zidane said: “Yes, from everyone. I have won many things with these players and I will always be with them to the death. I will always be with them.
“But we have to change our momentum, we have had two difficult games, and that’s what this is all about. There are always bad moments but there are those teams in those moments that show their character and quality. We have to do that tomorrow.”
Zidane said Sergio Ramos will be available to face Barcelona after recovering from the knee injury that kept him out of the loss to Shakhtar on Wednesday.
“Sergio is our captain, our leader,” said Zidane. “He’s recovered, he’s going to be with us. It’s about being 100 percent though and I think that Sergio is already there.”
Barcelona are also coming into the Clasico on the back of a loss in the league, although they responded to the 1-0 defeat by Getafe last weekend by winning 5-1 at home to Ferencvaros on Tuesday in the Champions League.
“In theory, both teams are under a lot of pressure,” said Ronald Koeman, who will be taking charge of his first Clasico as Barcelona coach.
“Maybe in the last couple of weeks Madrid haven’t been at their level but this doesn’t mean that they are a bad team.
“They are a big team, with experienced players, who know how to cope with the pressure, and they will want more than anyone to win this match after their two defeats.”
“I don’t expect a vulnerable Madrid, I expect the opposite,” Koeman added.
There are doubts over Antoine Griezmann, who stayed on the bench for Barca’s victory in midweek.
It was not clear whether the Frenchman had been dropped or rested. “He has a chance to play,” said Koeman.
“But it’s not good to discuss his role for every game.”
Jordi Alba has been included in the squad after recovering from a hamstring injury but it remains to be seen if the left-back is deemed ready to start.
“Always the last word is with the player,” said Koeman. “If there’s no reaction he has a good chance of playing tomorrow.”


7th Pakistan cricket team member tests positive for COVID-19

Updated 28 November 2020

7th Pakistan cricket team member tests positive for COVID-19

  • Six members of the 53-member squad tested positive on Tuesday when the team arrived in New Zealand from Pakistan
  • Under New Zealand rules, people in managed isolation generally are tested on the third and 12th days of the isolation period

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: A seventh member of the Pakistan cricket team in New Zealand has tested positive for COVID-19 and will join other infected teammates in quarantine.
Six members of the 53-member squad tested positive on Tuesday when the team arrived in New Zealand from Pakistan and began its compulsory 14-day stay in managed isolation. The seventh member tested positive Friday when players and officials again were tested on the third day of their isolation period.
Under New Zealand rules, people in managed isolation generally are tested on the third and 12th days of the isolation period. The new infection was reported Saturday by New Zealand’s ministry of health in its daily update of COVID cases.
“One additional member of the Pakistan cricket squad has today tested positive during routine testing,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement. “The remainder of the results from the squad’s day 3 swab testing — apart from the six who have already returned a positive result — are negative.”
People who test positive while in isolation can be held beyond the usual 14-day period.
The Pakistan team has already received a final warning from the health ministry after players breached protocols on their first day in isolation. The ministry said closed-circuit television footage from the team’s Christchurch hotel showed squad members mingling in corridors and sharing food.
An exemption which would have allowed team members to train in small groups after their third day in isolation has been revoked. But will be reviewed later if no further breaches occur. Players and team management are required to stay in their rooms for the first three days of the isolation period.
New Zealand’s director general of health, Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, said he took a “dim view” of the team’s failure to obey the regulations which had been clearly spelled out to team members on their arrival. Further breaches might lead to the team being expelled from New Zealand.
“Rather than being in their own rooms which is a requirement for that first three days, until that first test comes back, there was some mingling in the hallways, chatting, sharing food and not wearing masks,” Bloomfield said.
A wider outbreak among squad members would also be a serious issue which might put the tour in jeopardy. Pakistan is due to play New Zealand in three Twenty20 internationals and two test matches. The first T20 will take place on Dec. 18 and the tests are the main features of New Zealand’s domestic summer.
On Friday, the health ministry said the team’s conduct had “significantly improved” after the warning was issued.
“We thank members of the team for their co-operation with the case investigations following the announcement of positive cases within the team,” the Ministry said. “Co-operation and compliance are critical in ensuring New Zealand is kept safe from COVID-19.”