Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has rejected suggestions that the La Liga champions are dependent on star player Cristiano Ronaldo following a stuttering start to their defence of the league title in the Portuguese’s absence.

“You know who Cristiano is,” Zidane told reporters at his pre-match media conference. “We cannot talk about a dependency, but I always want him to be with us.

“What interests me is that everyone can play. Cristiano brings not only goals, but is a leader as well and he always wants to win. He transmits that [to his team-mates]. We are all happy that he is with us. He’s very focused on what he has to do. In addition, he is very
happy to play again because it is what he likes, what makes him happy.”

“He’s going to play tomorrow, but we’re not going to have him on Sunday. I hope Sunday is the last game of the season that he is not here.”

Ronaldo was dismissed during the first leg of Madrid’s Supercopa de Espana triumph over Barcelona and received a five-match ban for shoving the referee.

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