Zinedine Zidane says everything fine with Cristiano Ronaldo after substitution drama


With Real Madrid approaching a quick turnaround for UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday, manager Zinedine Zidane is downplaying notions of tension after he subbed Cristiano Ronaldo out on Saturday.

It was Ronaldo’s first tactical substitution in his seven years with the club, and he was clearly displeased to come off in the 72nd minute in a draw to Las Parmas, allegedly hurling plenty of profanities Zidane’s way. But it’s water under the bridge, the coach said.

“Everything is normal,” Zidane told reporters on Monday. “It is not just Cristiano – all players can be angry when they leave the pitch. We're already thinking about tomorrow's game. I took the decision for the good of the player.

“Nothing has changed. All this talk [about the incident], more than about tomorrow's game – well, we must live with that. We are relaxed. I'm not stupid, and he is intelligent. We are all here for the same thing.”

Zidane told reporters he substituted Ronaldo not because the superstar was playing poorly, but because he wanted to give him rest for Tuesday’s UCL match in Germany against Borussia Dortmund.

But for a player with expectations as high as Ronaldo has created, the Portuguese is hitting a bit of a rough patch. He has just one goal in three games for Real Madrid this season and he missed a couple of chances against Las Parmas before he was yanked.

The entire team looked lackluster against Las Parmas, Zidane said, but he declined to blame either the attack or the defense on the 2-2 result.

“When you have chances to score goals I would like to obviously score more goals,” he said on Monday. “When [Las Palmas] score two goals against us, of course you have to think about the defense. There are things that we can identify but it's a combination of everything together.”

Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund will air live Tuesday on FS1, with coverage starting at 2 p.m. ET.