Zinedine Zidane responds to Cristiano Ronaldo's Real Madrid exit rumours

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Zinedine Zidane has urged Cristiano Ronaldo to concentrate on his form amid reports Real Madrid are open to letting him leave the club.

He said: "I can't imagine Real Madrid without Cristiano, this is his club and the one where he needs to be".

"I do not want to talk about this, the contract and these things".

Real have fallen a remarkable 19 points behind runaway league leaders Barcelona and are now fourth in the standings, trailing second-placed Atletico Madrid by 10 points and third-placed Valencia by eight, although they have played one game less.

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World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo has set his sights on a move away from current UEFA Champions League holders Real Madrid back to Manchester United in England.

Zidane added: "We know what is discussed, but what Cristiano has to do is think about playing, as always".

"I would prefer to talk about his performances and what he gives to the team".

Ronaldo collected a joint-record fifth Ballon d'Or award in December but has only scored four times in La Liga this season, a huge factor in the Spanish and European champions limp title defence.

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"What I am most interested in is the pitch, that is what I talk to Cristiano about", he responded when asked about the "Ronaldo exit" rumours at a press conference, as quoted by ESPN journalist Dermot Corrigan.

Meanwhile, former Madrid president Ramon Calderon, no friend of club chief Perez, told Le Parisien the latest leaks linking Neymar with a move to the Bernabeu next summer were designed both to quieten fan unrest after recent results and to put pressure on Ronaldo to accept he should move on.

Karim Benzema has recovered from injury and will be able to play some part in the game, and Real Madrid also have a big advantage given that their last game was on Saturday, while Leganes had to play their league fixture on Monday night leaving them little time to recover for perhaps the biggest game in their history. "I go day by day and will not change".

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