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Zidane pities Antic for saying Modric didn’t deserve Ballon d’Or

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Zinedine Zidane brushed aside Radomir Antic’s claims that Luka Modric undeservedly won the 2018 Ballon d’Or.

Antic, who coached Real Madrid for a single season, remarked in a recent interview with Goal that it “doesn’t make any sense” that Modric won the 2018 Ballon d’Or.

The Serbian argued that Modric doesn’t provide any assists or goals, despite the fact he had helped Real to a third Champions League crown and Croatia to their first ever World Cup final.

However, Zidane is fully convinced Modric deserved the honour of being crowned the world’s best player. Furthermore, the Frenchman added he pities those who suggest otherwise.

“People are free to say whatever they like. I feel for the people who think that,” said Zidane on the club website.

“He deserves his Ballon d’Or, he’s earned it through commitment, great play, tremendous quality and everything we know Luka to possess. He deserves his Ballon d’Or and if people disagree, then I feel sorry for them.”

After losing his first game back as Real manager to Valencia in a 2-1 defeat on Wednesday, Zidane is eyeing a response for Saturday’s La Liga match against SD Eibar.

Los Armeros famously defeated Real in their previous clash back on November 3-0 and will be seeking to capitalise on the capital team’s mid-week setback at Valencia.

“Eibar are going to come and play some good football. They’re having a brilliant season and tomorrow is a huge game for them,” said Zidane.

“We’re expecting another tough clash. I’m not inside the players’ heads but from what I see in training I can tell they have real pride and want to finish the season strongly.

“A defeat always means one thing; that the opposition were better. But we did good things against Valencia so we have to focus on that. I’m convinced we’ll put in a good performance tomorrow.”

Isco and Gareth Bale are expected to return to the line-up this weekend after coming on as substitutes at Valencia.

Meanwhile, Nacho Fernandez will be available for selection once more after serving a suspension. But Marcelo will instead be suspended this time out, with Sergio Reguilon expected to start as left-back.

Thibaut Courtois, Dani Carvajal and Marcos Llorente remain injury doubts for this weekend.

The Real Madrid and Eibar match will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu, with kick-off set for 16:15 (CET) on Saturday.

MADRID, SPAIN – MARCH 31: Dani Ceballos of Real Madrid celebrates with team mates after scoring his sides second goal during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and SD Huesca at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 31, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)