Zidane still hopeful over Ramos, Vazquez contracts at Real Madrid

By Sports Desk January 08, 2021

Zinedine Zidane hopes Sergio Ramos and Lucas Vazquez's contracts with Real Madrid are "sorted out".

Ramos, 34, and Vazquez, 29, are both out of contract at the end of the season and their futures remain uncertain.

Reports suggest Ramos has turned down a one-year deal from Madrid, the club he arrived at in 2005.

Asked about Ramos and Vazquez possibly not signing contracts, Zidane told a news conference: "I don't want it but, in football, you never know.

"What I want and what we want you already know. You will ask me again at another press conference after the match and I will tell you the same thing. What I hope is that this will be sorted out, nothing more."

Madrid visit Osasuna in LaLiga on Saturday as they look to keep the pressure on Atletico, who are two points clear and have played two fewer games.

Eden Hazard's future is again a talking point at Madrid and the playmaker last started a league game in November.

But Zidane is unwilling to take risks with the 30-year-old, who has struggled with injuries since arriving at the club.

"He is with us. He is training regularly, then after that I don't know," he said.

"We will see if he is for 90 minutes or not and we will see how the pitch is. And for the next matches we will see the same, little by little."

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    Carlo Ancelotti was pleased with Real Madrid's ability to grind out a 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao after acknowledging they were far from their best at the Santiago Bernabeu.

    Karim Benzema, who also scored in the 2-1 win over Sevilla at the weekend, grabbed the only goal of the game in the 40th minute with his 12th strike of the LaLiga season.

    The France international has now scored 35 goals in 46 games for Madrid across all competitions in 2021, equalling his best goalscoring tally in a single calendar year for Los Blancos (35 goals in 50 games in 2019).

    The hosts had to work hard for a fifth consecutive LaLiga win, with the visitors taking 18 shots on Thibaut Courtois' goal.

    Indeed, their expected goals against indicator of 2.7 was the highest Madrid have had in a match this season in all competitions.

    "It is true that our opponents had more rest than us, and they are very good," Ancelotti told a media conference.

    "In the first half, we did well. In the second we failed with more passes than in the first, and we suffered.

    "The ability to suffer is a quality of the team. We know how to play football, and we know how to suffer when the football we want to play isn't happening.

    "Real Madrid never give up. Our character and commitment is very strong. Sometimes when we can't use our quality, we are able to use other qualities.

    "I liked the ending more than the first half – we were missing something then."

    The result moved Madrid seven points clear of Atletico Madrid in second, although Diego Simeone's men have a game in hand.

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    "The team has finished tired, and we will have to analyse it," he added.

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    "I have to think carefully about the decisions, but the streak is very good, and I am very satisfied with everyone: with those who play, those who play for five minutes, and those who do not have a minute.

    "The atmosphere in the team is very good; I like it."

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    Unai Simon twice denied Benzema from close range inside the opening 15 minutes as Madrid started brightly.

    Athletic grew into the game, though, and twice went close before the half-hour mark, Inaki Williams seeing an effort deflected narrowly wide and an unmarked Raul Garcia heading straight at Courtois.

    Madrid went ahead five minutes before the interval, Benzema sliding into an empty net from Luka Modric's mishit shot after Simon had thwarted Marco Asensio.

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    What does it mean? Madrid pushed all the way

    Athletic's tally of 18 shots is evidence that Madrid were far from their best, but Ancelotti's men did just enough to seal maximum points against their spirited opponents.

    The result means Los Blancos are now unbeaten in their last 13 LaLiga games against Athletic – their best such run against them in the top flight.

    Brilliant Benzema

    The superb Benzema has now scored 35 goals in 46 games for Madrid across all competitions in 2021, equalling his best goalscoring tally in a single calendar year for Los Blancos (35 goals in 50 games in 2019).

    Shot-shy Vinicius

    He sealed all three points against Sevilla on Sunday with a sublime strike, but Vinicius Junior had no such luck in front of goal here. The Brazil international made a game-high five key passes, but failed to have a single shot as Madrid largely toiled in attack.

    What's next?

    Madrid travel to third-placed Real Sociedad on Saturday, while Athletic are next in action on Monday when they visit Getafe.

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