Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has named city rivals Atletico Madrid as favorites to win La Liga this season, putting pressure on Los Rosablancos after an unbeaten start to the season.
Diego Simeone’s side have won eight of their first ten La Liga games, are one point ahead of surprise package Real Sociedad with two games in hand, while they have also impressed in Europe – following victory in the Champions League. have qualified for the last 16. Over Salzburg in midweek.
Atleti are unbeaten so far in La Liga / Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images
Atleti dig into their wits against Zidane’s Real for the first time this season this Saturday, as the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano prepares to host their first Madrid derby. Ahead of the clash, Zidane has some games going on in his mind, admitting that Simeone’s side must now be considered favorites to win La Liga.
“Yes why not [they are favourites]”Zidane told reporters, according to ESPN. “This is what they are showing. They are doing well on the pitch, they are winning. They have always been a competitive team and they are at the top of the table today.
“We have to deal with what they do well. Atleti is a team that always competes, they have a long time, I expect that. About the rest, we will see. What are we going to do, I mean, what interests me the most?”
Atletico have been a model of consistency so far this season, but Real have been anything but. Zidane’s side have won just six of their 11 La Liga games to date, and are already upset at home to both Cadiz and Alves.
Real have won their last two, and qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League in midweek / Dennis Doyle/Getty Images
They also came close to the Champions League elimination, before Karim Benzema’s brace against Borussia Monchengladbach ensured they emerged from the group stage unscathed. Despite these setbacks, Zidane is adamant that his aim is to retain the La Liga crown.
“What we want in every game is to show our team every three days without thinking about winning the league,” Zidane added. “Every game we want to win, like we’re a rival… we’re league champions and we want to defend what we won last year.”