Zinedine Zidane believes Real Madrid will return refreshed, not rusty, from their two-week break when they travel to Osasuna in La Liga on Saturday. We have already moved on. This couldn't come at a better time since the addition of the UCL and the global breaks will continue to force rotations.
"We respect the decision and we're focused only on what we have to do now". Yes, because we still don't know what's going to happen, we're only thinking about what we already have.
Together with Javier and Migeul Flano, Osasuna must play without nominal first goalkeeper Nauzet Perez (Salvatore Sirigu was brought in for that very reason), and maybe the worst piece of news for their manager Petar Vasiljevic is the muscle of injury of Miguel De las Cuevas. That's the first effort they have had on goal, but nonetheless Real Madrid have taken the lead! Expect Los Blancos to notch another W when they roll into El Sadar Stadium to meet Los Rojillos on their home turf.
Shutdown in IOK on martyrdom anniversary of Afzal Guru
Several parts of the region were affected due to lock down observed in the memory of Afzal Guru by separatists. Authorities imposed strict restrictions to prevent anti-government protests and rallies on the occasion.
The fortnight's break has allowed Madrid's fitness problems to ease, with Luka Modric, Marcelo, Pepe and James Rodriguez among those who have returned to full training. "[Modric and Carvajal] are ready to be in the squad".
"We always want to play, so of course 15 days without playing is a lot, but we want to play", the Coach said at a Press conference. It is hard for the Partenopei players not to consume any pizza as it is on every chef's menu in this southern part of Italy. I hope to have Gareth back before that. "He's training well and he's looking forward to returning". There's no need to rush him back, sure that would be silly. I just focus on my players - we have four months left of the competition.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC.