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Zidane quietly confident ahead of coaching bow

Zinédine Zidane says the pressure is always on Real Madrid in Europe but he goes into his UEFA Champions League coaching debut against in-form Roma full of confidence.

Zinédine Zidane speaks to the media in Rome
Zinédine Zidane speaks to the media in Rome ©AFP/Getty Images
  • Zinédine Zidane poised for his UEFA Champions League coaching debut
  • Roma have suffered just one defeat in their last 13 games in all competitions
  • Madrid have lost their last eight two-legged ties against Italian clubs
  • Zidane pays tribute to Francesco Totti, saying watching him is "always a pleasure"
  • Zidane's UEFA Champions League record as a player

Possible lineups
Roma
:
Szczęsny; Rüdiger, De Rossi, Manolas; Florenzi, Pjanić, Keita, Nainggolan, Digne; Salah, Džeko.
Out
: Capradossi (knee)
Doubtful
: De Rossi (calf), Totti (calf)
Misses next match if booked:
De Rossi, Nainggolan

Real Madrid: Navas; Marcelo/Carvajal, Varane, Sergio Ramos, Danilo; Modrić, Kroos, Isco; James Rodríguez, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Out: Bale (calf), Pepe (foot), Abner (knee)
Doubtful: Marcelo (shoulder)
Misses next match if booked: Casemiro

Luciano Spalletti, Roma coach
I don't think there are any favourites, both sides have a 50-50 chance of making it through the round. We want confirmation of the progress we're making and this is the perfect match to understand whether we're on the right track or not.

I've heard talk about sticking men on him but I won't tell my players that three of them need to mark Cristiano Ronaldo. I'm not going to say to them that they're worth a third of one Portuguese player, otherwise I would need a team of 33 to face a side of that quality.

©Getty Images

I have to let whoever is playing in the same area as him know that he has the chance to match Cristiano Ronaldo. Alessandro Florenzi can counteract Ronaldo, but he is not the only one. He has speed and against a player like that, pace is a necessity.

Zinédine Zidane, Real Madrid coach
The Champions League is a different competition to the Liga and Roma are a very good team who know how to play football. It will be difficult, but we have trained well all week and are ready to do our part.

We know the Champions League is special for this club, for me and for the players. We have a little pressure because we are Real, but it's all good. The players are focused and that is reassuring for me.

Francesco Totti ... Everything he has done so far in his career has been spectacular and what he has done for Roma is really special. Hats off to him! Let's see if he continues playing next season but for those of us who love football, seeing him on the pitch is always a pleasure.

Highlights: Watch Roma beat Real Madrid in 2008
Highlights: Watch Roma beat Real Madrid in 2008

Weekend results
Carpi 1-3 Roma(Lasagna 61; Digne 56, Džeko 84, Salah 85)
After Lucas Digne's long-range strike was cancelled out, Mohamed Salah set up Edin Džeko before quickly adding another himself as Spalletti's men sealed a fourth successive win.

Real Madrid 4-2 Athletic (Ronaldo 3 87, James Rodríguez 37, Kroos 45; Eraso 10, Elustondo 90)
The hosts took their tally to 37 goals in their last seven Liga home fixtures, Cristiano Ronaldo's double bookending the Madrid scoring. The Merengues are six undefeated under Zidane.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Roma: WWWWLD
Real Madrid: WWWDWW

Watch Florenzi's wonder goal v Barca
Watch Florenzi's wonder goal v Barca

Reporter's view: Ben Gladwell (@UEFAcomBenG)
The renewed enthusiasm Spalletti has brought to Roma means they will fancy their chances of at least repeating the result of their last meeting with Spanish opposition at the Stadio Olimpico – the 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the group stage. Madrid have also strengthened their belief with the appointment of Zidane. Two new coaches, neither big fans of defensive football – it could be spectacular.

Did you know?
Zidane spent five seasons in Italy with Juventus (1996–2001), winning two Serie A titles. His combined record against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico as a player with Juventus and Madrid was W3 D3 L1; find out more in our extensive match background.