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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Zinedine Zidane reaffirms commitment to Real Madrid as he calls Neymar a 'great player'

The Primera Liga champions face Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday and are set to field Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema upfront.

Zinedine Zidane says he is committed to turning around Real Madrid's fortunes. Rodrigo Jimenez / EPA
Zinedine Zidane says he is committed to turning around Real Madrid's fortunes. Rodrigo Jimenez / EPA

Zinedine Zidane has dismissed any suggestion that Real Madrid's stuttering form could lead to him stepping down as the side's manager, declaring: "I'll never throw in the towel."

Since claiming a club-record fifth trophy of 2017 at the Fifa Club World Cup in December in Abu Dhabi, Madrid's season has threatened to come apart at the seams.

A 3-0 home mauling at the hands of Barcelona followed by a string of mediocre performances and results has sunk Madrid's title defence and seen them make heavy weather of progressing in the Copa del Rey.

With an Uefa Champions League last-16 showdown against rampant Paris St Germain fast approaching, Madrid need to rediscover last year's form quickly or risk seeing their European title defence come to an end as well.

Zidane, though, insists he is up for the fight.

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Asked if he had considered quitting, the Frenchman told a news conference. "I don't think about negative things, only positive.

"We will find positive things. I'm never going to throw in the towel. I'm going to continue fighting as I've always shown and I'm not going to quit ever. "

One positive for Zidane is the chance to finally be able to field his all-star forward line of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema against Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday.

The much-vaunted 'BBC' strikeforce have rarely been available at the same time over the last 10 months due to injuries and suspension, but they could be unleashed against Deportivo.

"The three of them are going to be with us, but I'm not going to say who will play. I'm very happy to be able to count on these three great players, they offer a lot to the team," said Zidane.

Zidane, meanwhile, played down media speculation linking Madrid with another of the game's top forwards - Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar.

He said of the world's most expensive player: "I won't speak about players who aren't mine. The whole footballing world likes Neymar, he's a great player."

Deportivo head to the Bernabeu fighting for survival at the bottom of LaLiga.

Three defeats in their last four games has left them 18th, two points adrift of safety, and coach Cristobal Parralo admits it may not be easy for them to arrest that form at the Bernabeu this weekend.

He told a news conference: "Playing against Madrid is never good for any side. They are one of the best teams.

"It's a wounded Madrid who are going to want to make their fans happy and make up for recent results, and I'm convinced that they are going to be even more difficult.

"I'm expecting a very motivated Madrid who have been hurt by all the things that are being said about them, but who are full of great players and who have won many things."