Zidane: Real Madrid will not switch off ahead of City test

Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos celebrate with the trophy after Thursday’s match. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 18 July 2020

Zidane: Real Madrid will not switch off ahead of City test

  • Real Madrid sit seven points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga after securing only their third league title in 12 years

MADRID: Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday that his players will not be given any holiday after La Liga ends this weekend as Real Madrid turn their attention to their crunch Champions League tie with Manchester City.

Madrid have won La Liga with a game to spare and could rest players for Sunday’s final game away to relegation battlers Leganes. 

But Zidane insists there will be no letup from Monday as Madrid attempt to overturn a 2-1 home defeat to City in the second leg of the last 16 encounter.

“They are not going to have two weeks off,” said Zidane in a press conference on Saturday.

“We have a game tomorrow and then we are not on vacation. Let’s get some rest, but then our minds will be on City.

“The season is not over. We’re going to have a few days off but everyone will be focused on what is a crucial match.”

Madrid sit seven points clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga after securing only their third league title in 12 years.

Their success comes after a 10-match winning run since the restart, with the team finding their best form after the three-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The title should never be underestimated, especially this one. It has been difficult and we have fought to the end,” Zidane said.

Madrid’s lineup and focus could be crucial to La Liga’s survival race given Leganes are fighting Celta Vigo to avoid the drop. Leganes are a point behind Celta, who play away at bottom club Espanyol.

“We can’t play it differently,” said Zidane.

“One match is left, we must respect that. It is the last game and we have to respect everyone else. We will play it to try to do well.”


Doctors warn over Delhi’s ‘suicidal’ half-marathon

Updated 27 November 2020

Doctors warn over Delhi’s ‘suicidal’ half-marathon

  • Organizers say the “highest level of safety-standards, with bio-secure zones” have been laid on for the race starting at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium
  • Delhi has been hit by a winter pollution crisis each year for the past decade when crop-stubble burning from nearby states, cold temperatures and car and industrial pollution produce a toxic mix

NEW DELHI: Top doctors have warned elite runners are taking a major health risk by competing in Sunday’s New Delhi half-marathon in the midst of a major coronavirus outbreak and soaring air pollution.
Women’s marathon world record-holder Brigid Kosgei from Kenya and Ethiopia’s two-time men’s winner Andamlak Belihu are among the 49 elite athletes running the 21-kilometer (13.1 mile) race, while thousands of amateurs are taking part virtually.
Organizers say the “highest level of safety-standards, with bio-secure zones” have been laid on for the race starting at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
But with New Delhi recording more than 500,000 virus cases, and air quality in the world’s most polluted capital hovering between ‘unhealthy’ and ‘hazardous’, health experts said the athletes should think twice.
“It will be suicidal for runners to run the race this time. We have such high levels of pollution, we have the risk of coronavirus,” Arvind Kumar, founder trustee of the Lung Care Foundation, told AFP.
“With the presence of this twin threat if people are still running despite knowing everything, well, I have no words to express my anguish.”
“Whether you are an international elite runner or you are a small boy from a village, the damaging potential of a damaging agent remains the same,” said the doctor.
Randeep Guleria, director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the country’s top research body, told AFP that “in an ideal situation” the race should not be run.
“Because of high levels of air pollution, exercising outside in this weather sometimes can lead to aggravation of underlying lung problems,” he said.
“Even if you are an elite runner the air pollution would still affect your lung.”
Normally thousands of amateurs would also take part, but because of the coronavirus they have been told to run their chosen route between Wednesday and Sunday and chart their time on an app.
Delhi has been hit by a winter pollution crisis each year for the past decade when crop-stubble burning from nearby states, cold temperatures and car and industrial pollution produce a toxic mix.
This year, the Indian capital is also a major concern in the battle against the coronavirus. India is the world’s second worst-hit country behind the United States, with about 9.3 million cases.
The city is considering imposing a night-time curfew because of the rising number of cases, according to media reports.
Kosgei, who is visiting India for the first time, acknowledged her concerns about traveling for the race.
“We have definitely been affected by Covid-19. I had to convince my parents and family back home to allow me to visit Delhi for the half-marathon,” she said.
“The virus has affected most of the sporting events. But it is important for us to take care of ourselves.”
As in other countries, nearly all sport in India has been canceled.
After repeated delays, the Indian Premier League cricket went ahead in the United Arab Emirates and the Indian Super League football is being held in a bio-secure “bubble” in Goa.