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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Zinedine Zidane relaxed ahead of Real Madrid's Champions League game against PSG

Madrid manager says he is not feeling any pressure even as crunch match could make or break his team's season

Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane has been going through the toughest period of his short managerial career. Paul White / AP Photo
Real Madrid's Zinedine Zidane has been going through the toughest period of his short managerial career. Paul White / AP Photo

Zinedine Zidane insists he is not letting the pressure get to him as he prepares his Real Madrid side for Wednesday's huge Uefa Champions League last-16 clash with Paris Saint-Germain at the Bernabeu.

"I'm very happy. We all live for these moments. I don't feel any particular pressure," a relaxed Zidane said at Madrid's Valdebebas training complex on Tuesday.

"We have prepared as we usually do. Certainly tomorrow there will be a bit more pressure than usual, but I'm going to enjoy it. My future does not bother me much just now."

Zidane has been going through the toughest period of his short managerial career, with Madrid fourth in the Primera Liga, a huge 17 points behind leaders Barcelona, albeit with a game in hand.

That has led to speculation that the Frenchman's future as manager is on the line against a feared PSG side, with the two-time defending European champions putting all their hopes in the Champions League going into the first leg of this tie.

"I am just trying to get on with my work. This is my passion," said Zidane, who has won eight trophies as Madrid manager. "I have nothing that I need to demonstrate."

The tie is a special one for the Marseille-born Zidane, as he faces a French club for the first time since being appointed manager in January 2016. The second leg will be in Paris on March 6.

"Playing against PSG as someone from Marseille, there has always been a rivalry there, but I'm not going to think about that. I just want a beautiful game of football."

Zidane got the full backing of Madrid's Marcelo, who said the former World Cup winner has a great relationship with the stars in the Madrid dressing room.

"He is a person who is very close to us and who helped us so much when he arrived here," the 29-year-old Brazilian left-back said. "He is a great coach who has done so much for this team and will keep on doing so to get things back to how they used to be."

Marcelo will be coming up against his international teammate Neymar, who he claimed ahead of the game in an interview with Brazilian television would "one day play for Real Madrid".

"Madrid fans like good players, and Neymar is a world star. Any fan would like to have Neymar in their team," he added on Tuesday.

But Madrid are wary of the threats elsewhere in a PSG side also featuring the likes of Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe.

"Of course Neymar is a great player who is on top of his game, but we are not only thinking about him."

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