Real Madrid coach, Zinedine Zidane, denied on Monday there was a rift between him and Cristiano Ronaldo after the team’s talisman appeared to react angrily to being substituted in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Las Palmas.
Ronaldo’s response to being taken off in the 72nd minute of the game has been the subject of much attention in the Spanish media in the build up to Tuesday’s heavyweight Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund.
Ronaldo, the all-time top scorer in the competition with 94 goals, has struggled to regain fitness and form since limping off in the Euro 2016 final with a knee injury. The prolific Portuguese has averaged over a goal per game in his seven seasons with Real but has made a slow start to his eighth campaign, missing three games with injury and scoring two goals in four appearances, completing 90 minutes twice. Team mate Toni Kroos told reporters that even the very best players can have off days and the substitution was no drama.
The European champions head to meet a rampaging Borussia Dortmund in a frazzled state with their buoyant start to the season having been punctured by successive La Liga draws. Real gave away a late equaliser to draw 2-2 at Las Palmas, after their joint-record 16-game winning streak in La Liga was halted by Wednesday’s 1-1 home stalemate against Villarreal, which saw their lead at the top cut to a point. Dortmund, meanwhile, have been on a sizzling run since losing to RB Leipzig on Sept. 10, scoring 20 goals in four straight wins against Legia Warsaw in the Champions League and Darmstadt, Wolfsburg and Freiburg in the Bundesliga.
Dortmund, who thrashed the Polish club 6-0 away in their opening group game, are second in the German top flight and on Friday equaled a club record of 24 games without defeat at home in the Bundesliga with a 3-1 win over Freiburg.
Zidane acknowledged that it will be a tough test.
Eleven-times European champions Real have a dismal record in Germany, having won four out of 30 competitive games in the country, and have lost their last three visits to Dortmund.