Zidane: ‘Real Madrid character’

Zinedine Zidane believes Real Madrid ‘played with character and the right approach’ in their 2-0 Champions League victory away to Inter.

Eden Hazard converted an early penalty and Arturo Vidal was sent off before half-time for dissent, then substitute Rodrygo rounded out the scoreline at San Siro.

“It was an important game, we prepared it well. We knew it would be tough, but we played with character and had the right approach,” Zidane told Sky Sport Italia.

“I am happy for the players, because they are often criticised when our performances aren’t great. You cannot always win in football, the important thing is to give your all every time and that is what we did this evening.

“We want to always play beautiful football and get the victories, but it’s not always possible. We played very well last week for 75 minutes and then conceded a goal, people act like it’s a disaster. That’s not how football works.

“I am sorry for Inter, as they had played well in the first game, but this is football.”

Zidane was asked for his thoughts following the death of legend Diego Armando Maradona.

“We are all sad for him and his family. It’s not just those in football, because everyone in the world adored Maradona. I always have him in my mind, as I was 14 years old in 1986, so what I saw him do on the field was unique.”


Conte: ‘Saw difference between Inter and Madrid’

Antonio Conte insists Inter should not be knocked down by defeat to Real Madrid, but rather ‘show us the path we must take’ to bridge that gap.

The Nerazzurri are practically out of the Champions League with two points from four games and run the very real risk of not even getting third place with a spot in the Europa League.

Arturo Vidal saw red, but even before that, Inter seemed unlikely to make much impact on a reshuffled Real Madrid side.

“It was always going to be difficult playing against big clubs like Real Madrid, so when going a goal down and a man down, it becomes an impossible mountain to climb,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

“I think we saw the difference between them and us. It shouldn’t knock us down. It should show us there’s a path we must take and we need to be hungry, hard-working and humble, to realise where we are and not let ourselves get swayed by voices from the outside.

“The only path forward is to work hard and grow in every possible way.”

Conte shrugged off questions on Inter’s dependency on Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez for goals.

“I don’t think we’re weak upfront, as we score plenty of goals. We are perhaps conceding a few too many at the moment. As I said, the game was immediately an uphill struggle and it became difficult to get back into it due to a red card that was caused by an excessive protest.

“This is the situation, we accept it. We had done much better and were more aggressive in Madrid, but it was tough here to be almost immediately 1-0 down and then see a player sent off. That knocked the wind out of us.

“Nonetheless, I think the team worked very hard today and put the effort in. Don’t forget, we were against Real Madrid and not the bottom of the table club.”

Inter are bottom of their Champions League group on two points from four games, as Shakhtar Donetsk have four, Real Madrid seven and Borussia Monchengladbach eight.

The night was overshadowed by the passing of Diego Armando Maradona.

“We are all shedding tears for the loss of a man who wrote football history and will always be an indelible figure in this sport. He was the poetry of football. I had the pleasure of playing against him, of marking him, and it still doesn’t seem real that he’s gone, especially as he was still young. It’s very sad.”


Diego Maradona dead: all the messages

Napoli and Argentina legend Diego Maradona died today aged 60 after a cardiac arrest. Messages to pay tribute to one of the best footballers of all time have arrived thick and fast through social media.

His former club Napoli were one of the first ones to mourn his death: “What words could we use to describe the pain we are feeling?” the Azzurri wrote on Twitter.

“Football will forever thank you,” Milan wrote in their official Twitter account while Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed he’s “lost a friend.”

Football Italia brings together all the reactions to Diego Maradona’s death.


CL: Inter see red with Real Madrid

Inter’s Champions League dreams are in tatters after a 2-0 home defeat to Real Madrid, as Arturo Vidal was sent off for dissent in the first half.

Follow all the action as it happens and give your views on the LIVEBLOG.

The group was extremely tight going in, as the Nerazzurri had just two points, Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk four, but Borussia Monchengladbach beat the Ukrainians 4-0 in an earlier kick-off to reach eight points. There was a minute’s silence before kick-off following the death of Napoli and Argentina legend Diego Maradona.

Marcelo Brozovic and Aleksandar Kolarov were still out with COVID, but Madrid made the trip to San Siro without Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos, Federico Valverde, Eder Militao, Luka Jovic and Alvaro Odriozola. They moved tactics to 4-2-3-1 with Lucas Vazquez, Martin Odegaard and Eden Hazard supporting Mariano Diaz.

It was a bad start for Inter, as Nicolò Barella ran into the back of Nacho and clipped his heels for an avoidable and naïve penalty. Eden Hazard converted with power, despite Samir Handanovic guessing the right side.

Lucas Vazquez almost made it 2-0 soon after, his sudden snapshot bouncing off the base of the upright with Handanovic nowhere near it.

Arturo Vidal gave the ball away cheaply and was lucky Real Madrid failed to make the most of it, but Romelu Lukaku fired a free kick over from the edge of the area.

Hazard stung Handanovic’s gloves at the near post, but things went from bad to worse when Vidal went down in the box under pressure from two Real Madrid players. Not only did the referee not view it again on VAR, he booked Vidal for dissent, swiftly followed by another card to reduce Inter to 10 men.

The Nerazzurri struggled to keep their heads and Luka Modric scuffed his finish just wide. Antonio Conte made a double change for the restart, introducing Ivan Perisic and Danilo D’Ambrosio for Lautaro Martinez and Alessandro Bastoni for a 4-4-1 formation.

Inter had more strong penalty appeals, this time when Roberto Gagliardini appeared to be wrestled to the ground, but VAR decided not to intervene.

Romelu Lukaku nodded down a corner for Stefan de Vrij, some desperate defending preventing the tap-in from six yards.

However, Real Madrid doubled their lead instead against the run of play, when a Lucas Vazquez cross found substitute Rodrygo relatively unmarked to fire in at the far post.

Perisic tried to get a consolation late on, his angled drive forcing Thibaut Courtois to get down quickly and palm it away with one hand.

Inter 0-2 Real Madrid

E Hazard pen 7 (R), Rodrygo 59 (R)

Inter: Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, Bastoni (D’Ambrosio 46); Hakimi (Alexis Sanchez 64), Barella, Gagliardini (Sensi 78), Young; Vidal; Lukaku (Eriksen 86), Lautaro Martinez (Perisic 46)

Real Madrid: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Mendy; Modric, Kroos; Lucas Vazquez, Odegaard (Casemiro 58), E Hazard (Vinicius Jr 78); Mariano Diaz (Rodrygo 59)

Ref: Taylor (ENG)

Sent off: Vidal 33 (I)


Liveblog: Inter-Real Madrid, Liverpool-Atalanta

Join us for all the build-up and action as it happens from the Champions League, as Inter must beat Real Madrid and Atalanta seek redemption in Liverpool.

They kick off at 20.00 GMT.

If you are on a mobile device or tablet, then follow the Liveblog HERE.

Inter risk crashing out of Europe entirely, but their group is also still extremely tight and unpredictable, so it could all hinge on tonight’s result against Real Madrid at San Siro.

Atalanta were beaten 5-0 in Bergamo by Liverpool and want to prove that was a one-off with this prestigious visit to Anfield.