Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that Toni Kroos and Luka Modric are ready for the upcoming Champions League last 16 second leg match against Roma on 8 March, after the pair missed the 7-1 win over Celta Vigo at the weekend. The French manager also insisted the club has no plans to ditch Cristiano Ronaldo over the summer, despite the player being again barracked by fans at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Los Blancos host the Serie A giants with a big hope of progressing after winning the away leg 2-0 last month. The side will have all but Karim Benzema of their star players available, after Gareth Bale and Marcelo returned to action at the weekend. The former Tottenham Hotspur icon scored a goal after more than a month on the sidelines.
Zidane is expected to hand Bale his first start since the injury in a line-up that will have a strong attacking emphasis, as Real Madrid refuse to take a win for granted. The boss, furthermore, left Borja Mayoral out of his 19-man squad despite the academy starlet had started the last two game to replace Benzema.
"Bale is prepared and ready to play. That the most important thing. The players who play have to do their job. The players know what they have to do on the field. There's one idea, it's the same, it's to always defend when we don't have the ball and try to do damage when we have it. It will be difficult to pick the team tomorrow but its better having all your players available," he said.
"Our main obligation is tomorrow's game and we will try to do the best we can and win the game. I'm not thinking any further ahead and after that we will think about the league game. Concentrating day to day makes me stronger. We have to play all the games. They're never won before. I've been a player and I know that if you don't do well, they can knock you out".
The impressive 7-1 win over Celta failed to silent some critics among supporters, who voiced their frustration at the players who in the previous match had suffered a humiliating defeat against Atletico Madrid. Ronaldo was then under scrutiny for publicly criticising his teammates, saying: "I don't want to disrespect anyone, but when the best players aren't available it's harder to win. I like to play with Karim, with Bale, with Marcelo. If we were all at my level, maybe we would be leaders."
Some fans rebuked the former United hero for his comments with boos during the first half of the game. Ronaldo responded by scoring four goals and celebrating one of them by turning to the crowd and putting his hand to his ear.
But asked whether Real Madrid could let Ronaldo leave in the summer amid the tense relationship with fans, Zidane said: "I'm not in favour for selling him. I am the coach and I want him."
"They whistled at me, at everyone. It's not a question of any player in particular, it's the fans who want more from their players and this is better for the players trying to make them always do their best. The fans really love their players in the end and this is very important. The stadium is always full and this means a lot."