Zidane worried for health of players during fixture pile-up

SHOWS: MADRID, SPAIN (NOVEMBER 20, 2020) (REAL MADRID TV - MUST NOT OBSCURE LOGO)

1. PLAYERS DURING PRACTICE GAME

2. RAPHAEL VARANE DURING PRACTICE GAME

3. VARIOUS OF PRACTICE GAME

4. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) REAL MADRID COACH, ZINEDINE ZIDANE, ON FIXTURE SCHEDULING, SAYING:

"All I can say is that I look at the calendar and it's too much, I think of the health of the players and nothing else and they never stop. I'm not speaking only about my players, but I'm worried for them. I don't want to get involved, at the end of the day there are people there who do the fixtures, but I'm very worried about the calendar and all the games we have to play."

5. VARIOUS OF PLAYERS TAKING SHOTS AT GOAL

6. VARIOUS OF PLAYERS DOING RUNNING DRILL

7. THIBAUT COURTOIS DOING GOALKEEPING DRILL

8. KARIM BENZEMA (LEFT) JOGGING

9. ALVARO ODRIOZOLA JOGGING

10. VARIOUS OF PLAYERS TAKING SHOTS AT GOAL

STORY: The fixture pile-up affecting Europe's top clubs is a worry, according to Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.

Speaking ahead of the club's visit to Villarreal -- their first match in a series of 10 across 33 days -- the Frenchman let his feelings be known.

"All I can say is that I look at the calendar and it's too much," he told a news conference on Friday (November 20).

"I think of the health of the players and nothing else and they never stop. I'm not speaking only about my players, but I'm worried for them.

"I don't want to get involved, at the end of the day there are people there who do the fixtures, but I'm very worried."

Zidane will be without captain Sergio Ramos for the visit to second-placed Villarreal, who sit two points above Real having played a game more, after the defender picked up a hamstring injury on international duty, which is likely to rule him out for the next 10 days.

Ramos's defensive partner Raphael Varane will undergo a late fitness test, with Zidane admitting he is "not 100 percent fit".

Yet defender Eder Militao, midfielder Casemiro and playmaker Eden Hazard are all back after returning negative COVID-19 tests, having tested positive before the international break.

Defenders Nacho and Dani Carvajal are also in contention.

(Production: May Ponzo / Stefan Haskins)