Paris Saint-Germain’s Argentinian forward Angel Di Maria (R) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal during the French League Cup round of 16 football match between Strasbourg (RCSA) and Paris-Saint-Germain (PSG) on December 13, 2017 at the Meinau stadium in Strasbourg, eastern France. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN
Zinedine Zidane has warned his Real Madrid players there is no room for complacency despite Neymar’s absence from next week’s Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain.
Neymar is to undergo surgery on a foot injury and will miss the last-16 decider at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday, where Real hold a 3-1 advantage from the first leg.
Without the Brazilian, PSG’s chances of a comeback appear to be significantly reduced, although the in-form Angel di Maria should fill the void. The Argentinian scored twice in a 3-0 win over Marseille on Wednesday.
“We feel sorry for Neymar but they are a very strong team and the player that is going to replace him will be very strong,” Zidane said on Friday.
“We are going to play a European Cup match, a return match, where we will have to give 2000 percent.
“Whether there is one player or another, the player who plays will be prepared, they will want to prove themselves.”
Real are at home to 10th-placed Getafe on Saturday as Los Blancos look to regain momentum following Tuesday’s surprise defeat to Espanyol.
Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, who play each other on Sunday, sit 15 and 10 points clear of Real respectively, but Zidane claims he will not give up in the league.
“It’s going to be complicated, but not impossible,” Zidane said.
“Look what is happening between the first and the second, there are five points now. Did you expect it? If Atletico beat Barcelona, it is two points, did you expect that?
“The league is alive and I am optimistic, always, until the end.”
Marcelo trained on Friday and is available to face Getafe but Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are still recovering from thigh and knee injuries respectively.
Zidane refused to offer any indication whether the pair will be fit to face PSG.