Real Madrid coach Zidane: This won't be 20-year career

Ross Houston
June 29, 2020

The newly introduced drinks break seemed to benefit Zidane's charges, who went close to breaking the deadlock through Karim Benzema's curling effort that sailed just over the crossbar.

With Espanyol about to make it to halftime with a clean sheet, Benzema cleverly unlocked the hosts' defence.

"It's a very important win", said Benzema. "I'll retire before that", Zidane said in a news conference ahead of Real Madrid's game with Espanyol on Sunday.

The title rivals have six games left.

But he knows bitty 1-0s are vital ingredients in what it takes to win a title.

Benzema downplayed the wonder-assist, inferring that play was second nature to him.

Sunday's matches continued to be closed to fans due to the coronavirus pandemic, like all games in Spain since the competition resumed two weeks ago. Absolutely not. They didn't put the game to bed after the break and were frustrated by an impressive Espanyol showing.

But Madrid proved the more risky side throughout.

Los Blancos had a couple half openings early, with Casemiro going close on two occasions while Wu Lei squandered a chance of his own at the other end with only Thibaut Courtois to beat. Ramos headed the ball on to Benzema inside the box.

"I have to give huge credit to Karim", said Casemiro. "We will see but not for 20 years, that's for sure". He heard me ask for the ball in the open space.

Espanyol was coached by sports director Francisco Rufete, a former player who stepped in after the club fired Abelardo Fernandez on Saturday.

Benzema's backheel came on an afternoon of sensational assists after Villarreal's Santi Cazorla earlier set up Gerard Moreno with an incredible, cushioned touch in their 2-0 win over Valencia. It's a attractive team goal. "It can be one of the plays of the championship". Javier Calleja's team has earned 13 of a possible 15 points since the restart and is now three points from fourth place and the last Champions League place. But we're focused on our own league.

Valencia is among the worst performers since the resumption of the league. "He is a player who invents things", Zidane said, via AS.

Celta is the last team in safety, with an eight-point advantage over the bottom three of Mallorca, Leganes and Espanyol.

Levante effectively sealed their top-flight status with a thumping 4-2 win at home to Real Betis.

It is for these reasons that they're the strongest team in Spain right now - the three points gained here simply confirm that in the standings as well.

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