Angry Zinedine Zidane slams 'disgraceful' claims of Juventus robbery

Chris Bailey 14/04/2018
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He may be a legend but Gianluigi Buffon's behaviour in Juve's Champions League exit to Real Madrid has soured his reputation.

Zinedine Zidane believes the negative reaction to Real Madrid’s last-gasp win over Juventus has been “disgraceful, upsetting and deceptive”, and borne out of jealousy towards the European champions.

Real sneaked into the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday after English referee Michael Oliver awarded the 12-times champions a controversial penalty in added-on time.

Cristiano Ronaldo held his nerve to send his side through 4-3 on aggregate after Juve had staged a remarkable comeback, levelling the tie by leading 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Gianluigi Buffon launched a scathing attack on Oliver after the match while sections of the Italian and Spanish press were also criticial of Real’s victory.
Corriere dello Sport, a daily sports newspaper in Rome, led with the headline ‘Che Furto’, meaning ‘What A Theft’, while Sport, the Barcelona daily, carried

‘El Robo Del Siglo’ on its front page, ‘The Theft Of The Century’.

Zidane, however, maintains his team fully deserved to go through.

“When people talk about it being a robbery I get angry – it is clear what we are doing annoys a lot of people,” Zidane said on Saturday.

“There are people that are anti-Real Madrid, but nobody is going to change that. Nobody can change the history of this club, what it has achieved.

“We are the best club in the world and when you’re the best club in the world, there is a certain degree of jealousy.”

Zidane added: “To be honest I think it is disgraceful, upsetting and deceptive. Anyone who says it was a robbery, I really don’t agree.”

FBL-EUR-C1-REALMADRID-JUVENTUS

Buffon was sent off for dissent on the pitch and then vented his anger off it too, by saying Oliver lacked personality and should have watched the game at home with his wife.

It could mark a dramatic end to Buffon’s Champions League career, given the 40-year-old is expected to retire at the end of the season.

“Those were his words,” Zidane said. “He was stressed, his feelings were heated. You have to respect his point of view but I think we deserved to qualify for the semi-finals.”

Real will now face German champions Bayern Munich in the semis, in a repeat of last year’s quarter-final, which Los Blancos won 6-3 on aggregate.

“I think they are an even better team this season than last,” Zidane said. “No team will have the upper hand, maybe us playing the return leg at home, but I would say the tie is evenly balanced, 50-50.”

Before then, Real turn their attention to Sunday’s trip to Malaga in La Liga, where they sit fourth in the table, 15 points adrift of leaders Barcelona.
Sergio Ramos is likely to return, having been suspended in midweek, but Zidane is expected to rest other key players for the match.

“Malaga are bottom and maybe they dont deserve to be,” Zidane said.

“I have seen some of their games, it’s surprising they are bottom of the table, but our aim is to go there and win.”

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Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane rejects suggestion that Juventus are ill-prepared

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Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has dismissed talk that Juventus’ domestic competition has left them ill-prepared for big Champions League tests.

The Old Lady were beaten 4-1 in last year’s final by Zidane’s side and are on the verge of being eliminated by the Spanish giants in the quarter-finals this time after last week’s 3-0 defeat in Turin.

The Bianconeri are closing in on their seventh-successive domestic title, while Real are only fourth in the table in Spain. Asked if Serie A was weaker than La Liga, Zidane – who played for Juve from 1996 until 2001’s move to Madrid – replied: “I don’t think it is weak.

“I think La Liga is the best league to be in because every game is difficult – things can go awry right up to the final game.”

Zidane, who will be without the banned Sergio Ramos, has also warned his players not to start contemplating who they could potentially meet in the last four or final.

“The 3-0 result will not change things for us,” he stressed.

“It’s another game and what happened, happened. It was a good game, but there is still 50 per cent of the tie to be played.

“We will have to put in another great game to pass through. I’m only interested in tomorrow’s match.

“We have one final and it is tomorrow. Then we will see if we get through, and then who we have to face, but we must not think beyond tomorrow’s game.”

Juve’s task is all the more difficult because Paulo Dybala is suspended having been dismissed in the first leg.

Defender Giorgio Chiellini believes that, at the very least, a strong performance at the home of the reigning champions would be beneficial for Juventus’ next European campaign.

Giorgio Chiellini attends a training session.

Giorgio Chiellini attends a training session.

“For long stretches of the first leg we would have deserved much more than a draw but instead we found ourselves two goals down and a man less,” he said.

“We’re not crying about what happened, and we go to Madrid with the desire to play a good game.

“In football and in life you never know what can happen, and to go there and put on a good display, even in view of next year, would be important.”

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Real Madrid sign Brazilian youngster Ramon de Araujo Siqueira

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European defending champions Real Madrid have signed another talented Brazilian youngster – Ramon de Araujo Siqueira from Fluminense.

It sees Real continue their South American recruitment, having already struck a deal with Flamengo to sign 17-year-old Vinicius Junior for €46 million.

Siqueira, 19, is a diminutive forward and follows in the footsteps of current Los Blancos star Marcelo, who also cut his teeth in Brazil with Fluminense.

He will be joining Real’s Castilla ‘B’ team, next season, after passing a medical and being given a tour of the club on Monday, according to Marca.

The Whites have been keeping an eye on the striker for the past two years.

According to the Spanish media outlet, the player is set to sign on a loan deal with an option to buy for €5m.

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