Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane steered clear of Spain’s political crisis ahead of his side’s trip to Girona on Sunday.
Catalonia’s regional parliament voted earlier this week to establish an independent republic, prompting the Spanish Senate to authorise the government to take control of the region.
Girona is one of Catalonia’s major cities but Zidane was keen to focus purely on football as his side go in search of a fifth straight LaLiga victory.
“We’re not worried about Catalonia because security will be as it always is,” Zidane told the club’s official website.
“We’ll play our game without thinking about anything else. We hope it’s a good match and that’s it.
“There’s a lot of talk, but I’m not going to enter into the debate. We’ll travel and be focused purely on the game, which is the important thing for me. It needn’t be seen as a special occasion. It’s just another LaLiga fixture. We follow the latest news, but our focus is solely on the game.”
Girona lost 2-0 at home to Levante in the Copa del Ray in midweek, but won their last LaLiga fixture 2-1 at Deportivo la Coruna.
“We’re aware that (Estadi) Montilivi is a difficult place to go to,” Zidane added. “We’ve got a tough game in store, as they all are in this league.
“We won’t be going there thinking about the fact that it’s our first competitive fixture at their place.”
Zidane is still without the services of the injured Gareth Bale and goalkeeper Kaylor Navas, but revealed they were both making progress ahead of next week’s Champions League tie with Tottenham at Wembley.
“They’re doing better and we’ll take a look at them next week,” he added. “I can’t say whether they’ll be involved in London because it all depends on their progress. We’ll make a decision on Monday.
“Bale is in good spirits. He’s feeling better now that he’s training out on the pitches, although he’s not yet rejoined the team. We’ll see how things go next week.”
Girona coach Pablo Machin admits he will have no difficulty in motivating his players for the visit of Real.
“The motivation is more than guaranteed,” he told a pre-match press conference. “All the players hope to play in matches like this.
“For us, it will be a party, given that one of the best teams in the world is coming. It’s time to reflect upon our journey, so it leaves a bad taste that the discussion is about other topics.”
Source: By PA Sport Staff