Madrid (AFP) – Real Madrid will travel “as normal” coach Zinedine Zidane insisted for their La Liga clash at Girona on Sunday (1515GMT) despite the political turmoil engulfing Catalonia.
Spain moved Saturday to assert direct rule over the deeply divided region, whose parliament voted in favour of unilateral declaration on independence from Spain on Friday.
“It doesn’t need to be a special game for us,” insisted Zidane on Saturday.
“It’s a league game we’re going to play tomorrow, and that’s it. You have to think about the game, not the context.
“Of course, we follow and we look at the situation, but we are only focusing on tomorrow’s match.”
The city of Girona just over 100 kilometres (62 miles) northeast of Barcelona is a hotbed of pro-Independence support and the birthplace of deposed regional leader Carles Puigdemont.
However, on Madrid’s first appearance in Catalonia since a violence-marred referendum on independence that sparked weeks of political crisis on October 1, Zidane tried to play down the signficance of the European champions’ visit.
“I see only one thing, the game tomorrow and nothing else,” the Frenchman continued.
“There is a lot of noise on the outside, which I am not going to get involved in.
“I am only concentrated on the game, we will travel and what matters to me is what we do on the pitch.”
Madrid will fly to Catalonia later on Saturday, but their official team bus will not be making the journey to carry them from the hotel to the stadium as is common on trips to Catalonia.
“It won’t be the first time that this has happened and there is no need to give it any further importance,” Real’s Director of Institutional Relations, Emilio Butragueno, told Spanish sports daily Marca.
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