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Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane: PSG game is not a final for me

Zinedine Zidane has emphasised it's Real Madrid vs. PSG in the Champions League, not Cristiano Ronaldo against Neymar.
Get all the stats and storylines from the biggest matchup of the round of 16.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has said he does not see Wednesday's Champions League first leg against Paris Saint-Germain as a "final" in which his reputation and job are on the line.

Madrid take on PSG at the Bernabeu with the Champions League offering their last chance to redeem a season that sees them 17 points behind Barcelona in La Liga and out of the Copa del Rey.

But Zidane told his prematch news conference: "It is not a final for me, and what I want is for us to play well.

"If you play well with the team we have, you have a big chance. Then I do not think about what might happen in the future.

"Some things are completely out of my hands. All games are important to me -- my future, at the moment, is not important to me.

"What people say about me or my team I am not interested in, really. I do not have to prove myself to anyone."

Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid have had a tough season.

Zidane said he was not concerned that former teammate Guti, Madrid's under-18s coach, has spoken of his hopes of getting the senior job at some point.

"I see him as capable of coaching Madrid, and what he is doing is preparing to do it one day," he said.

"He said that, which is fine by me. He is a guy from here, all his life, so one day it is his dream too. Why not?"

PSG's former Barcelona star Neymar has been linked with a move to Madrid as speculation continues to surround the future of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Asked about the two attackers, Zidane said: "They are both great players.

"Obviously Cristiano has accomplished great things, won five Ballon d'Ors. I will not compare those two players at this moment.

"What I can say is that we know Neymar is a great player and can be decisive. But tomorrow's duel is not between Cristiano and Neymar, it is between Real Madrid and PSG."

Zidane refused to confirm his team for Wednesday's game, although it has been widely predicted that utility defender Nacho Fernandez will deputise at right-back for the suspended Dani Carvajal, while Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Ronaldo will start in attack.

He would not disclose whether he would deploy a man-marker on Neymar, saying when reminded that he had previously used Mateo Kovacic to do that job on Barcelona's Lionel Messi: "I don't know if I should respond. I must keep some things for me."

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan


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