A Barcelona team without Neymar cannot be underestimated in Zinedine Zidane’s eyes, although the Real Madrid coach is aware that replacing the winger is an extremely difficult task.
Travelling to the Camp Nou for the Supercopa de Espana first leg on Sunday, the Frenchman is ready to face up to whoever Ernesto Valverde picks in place of the 222 million euro man.
“Whoever plays tomorrow will not be Neymar, because he is very good, but they will do well,” Zidane stated to the assembled press.
“There are not many players like Neymar.”
What won’t change is the Blaugrana’s style of player, which Zidane feels to be the major threat posed to Real in Catalonia.
“On the contrary, they have made changes but in the end Barcelona are Barcelona,” he noted.
“We know how they play and that’s not going to change, their plans will not change.
“I said that there is no other like Neymar, he is irreplaceable, but there is another that will come in and do well. If we think tomorrow will be easier, then we are wrong.”
With a packed squad to choose from following Madrid’s triumph at the UEFA Super Cup, the Blancos boss is keeping his cards close to his chest, including the advent of Cristiano Ronaldo’s first start of the season.
“You’ll see tomorrow,” remarked Zidane “We are all well, physically and mentally perfect.
“Everyone wants to play and that’s good, so I’ll have to choose.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is ready. He’s fine, he’s had a vacation, and although he’s only been with us a few days, he’s worked hard on his fitness and he’s ready.”
That could herald the return of BBC, which Zidane doesn’t necessarily think will spell the end of Isco’s run in the side.
“They are compatible,” he noted. “I have to manage their rest, but it can be done.
“I cannot do many things, so we’ll see how I’m going to set us up tomorrow.”
One trophy is already in the bag for Real in 2017/18 and the opportunity of a second is enough motivation for the coach, even if it does come against Barcelona.
“It is the Supercopa and it has a special value because it’s another trophy,” Zidane said.
“We know it’s something more when it’s Barcelona, as for many people it’s a game against our biggest rival, but for me it does not change anything.”