Zinedine Zidane has admitted that Chelsea were “superior” and “deserved to win” in their Champions League semi-final victory over Real Madrid, as the Frenchman saw his side crash out at the penultimate hurdle.
Goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount ensured that Los Blancos fell short of a shot at a fourth European title under the World Cup winner, as they were outclassed at Stamford Bridge by the Blues.
The result means that Thomas Tuchel’s side will face Manchester City in Istanbul later this month, while Madrid will attempt to muster a last-gasp defence of their crown in La Liga.
“They were superior, they deserved to win,” Zidane told RMC Sport after Chelsea’s 4-1 aggregate triumph. “They were more effective over the course of the match, they had a lot of chances too.
“Over the course of the two matches, they deserve the qualification. These are matches of a very high level, [and] we missed something tonight. It is not about organisation, even though in the duels it was difficult
But anyway I have said that, but I remain very proud of my players. The path they have achieved with the difficulties that we have experienced. We have to congratulate ourselves for getting here. We were one match away from the final. But tonight they were better.”
Zidane also played coy on whether this was his final Champions League game in charge of Madrid, adding: “I have not thought about anything, tonight it is just disappointment for everyone.
“Aside from that, we have four more matches in La Liga, we are going to rest and focus on that to go and get something.”
With their European exit confirmed, Madrid’s only chance of silverware now remains achieving a successful defence of their title in La Liga.
They faltered in their first Copa del Rey game of the season, losing in extra-time to Alcoyano, and also lost to Athletic Club in their Supercopa de Espana semi-final.
Now, their lone hope is the league – but to win, they would require results to go against rivals Atletico Madrid and Barcelona to give them a clean shot.