Real Madrid's Zidane refutes Pique's hint that referees favour Madrid

Posted Sunday, June 21, 2020 by ESPN

Real Madrid's Zidane refutes Pique's hint that referees favour Madrid

Zinedine Zidane has denied referees could help Real Madrid win La Liga after Gerard Pique hinted it would be "difficult" for Barcelona to beat their rivals to the title.

Pique made the comments after Barcelona were held to a 0-0 draw with Sevilla on Friday, apparently referring to VAR ruling out a Valencia goal against Madrid a day earlier.

"No. I am very direct. I don't think so," Zidane said in a news conference when asked if his team had been favoured by officials. "People can say one thing or another. What I am interested in is the game tomorrow. I have my opinion, but I won't tell you what I think about Pique or anyone."

That result means Zidane's team can go level on points with Barca at the top of the table -- and ahead of them, thanks to a superior head-to-head record -- if they win against Real Sociedad on Sunday.

"[Barca's draw] doesn't change anything," Zidane said. "This is our third game, we have talked about playing 11 finals, and we will prepare thinking about giving everything on the pitch and nothing else."

After beating Eibar and Valencia at home, the trip to San Sebastian to face an exciting Real Sociedad team is Madrid's first away fixture since La Liga returned.

They were knocked out of the Copa del Rey in a 4-3 home defeat in February, with on-loan Martin Odegaard getting on the scoresheet against his parent club.

"He is a player of the present and the future, he is young and he is doing really well for Real Sociedad," Zidane said. "I won't say what we're going to do with Martin. He is ours but this year he's playing for another club. In the future we will see what we're going to do with Martin."

The French coach is expected to rotate the side for their third game in seven days, with Marco Asensio making a case for a start with a goal and assist against Valencia, after returning from a long-term injury layoff.

"We have to go step-by-step [with Asensio]," Zidane said. "We must stay calm. We are ambitious, but we can't forget he has been out for 10 months and that's a long time."

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