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Sport

Real's Zidane plays down talk of Benzema and Vinicius rift

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Real Madrid v Real Valladolid - Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Madrid, Spain - September 30, 2020 Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said on Friday that there is no problem between forwards Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior.

Footage emerged at halftime of Tuesday’s 2-2 Champions League draw with Borussia Moenchengladbach in which an exasperated Benzema was seen criticising the young Brazilian to defender Ferland Mendy, telling the fullback not to pass to him.

“The most important thing is that it’s cleared up and that the players sort it out themselves. You say a lot of things on the pitch, but it always stays there,” Zidane told a news conference, confirming local media reports that Vinicius and Benzema had buried the hatchet at training on Thursday.

“It’s good that these kind of things happen, because it means we’re alive and in the moment.

“They spoke and that’s that. This kind of thing happens all the time on the pitch, things get heated. You say things about yourself, others and even me.”

Eden Hazard made his first appearance for the club since August in the game following a lengthy injury, but Zidane said he might resist the temptation to start him in Saturday’s meeting at home to minnows Huesca.

“He’s training well, and things look good. When you get injured it’s tough because as a player you just want to play,” Zidane said.

“We’ve got a lot of games coming up and the idea is that he’s with us for them. We’ll see how we manage his game time, but the most-important thing is that he’s feeling good. There’s lots of games, lots of minutes, to come.”

Real are without defenders Dani Carvajal, Nacho Fernandez and Alvaro Odriozola for the game, while midfielder Martin Odegaard will also be missing.

Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Toby Davis

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