After losing more ground on LaLiga leaders Barcelona following their 1-0 defeat to Espanyol on Tuesday evening, Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane declines that him and his teammates are ready to give up on closing the 14 point gap.
With the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie against Paris Saint Germain less than a week away, head coach Zinedine Zidane opted to field a weakened side, Cristiano Ronaldo stayed at home while Karim Benzema and Dani Carvajal made the bench.
A decision which saw the visitors struggle and the misjudgement became apparent in the 93rd minute as striker Gerard Moreno finished to deny Los Blancos of a fifth consecutive win.
Real’s fortunes had appeared to have turned following good displays prior to Tuesday’s loss, they had scored 20 goals in the five games leading up to their trip to Espanyol’s home ground, Cornella El-Prat.
Yet their fifth league defeat of the season not only leaves the door open for Barcelona to extend their lead at the top but it also allows second place rivals Atletico Madrid the opportunity to turn their seven point deficit to ten.
Speaking after the game, Varane claimed despite their poor domestic campaign, the club’s badge demands certain standards and determination.
“We always have to give our best when we pull this shirt on,” Varane said.
“We can’t give up on La Liga. We have to show the same drive. We’re not looking at the points. We have to focus on the games and try to win them because that’s what this badge demands of us. You can never write us off.”
Madrid take on Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday before heading to Paris to defend their 3-1 first leg lead, the challenge may have been made easier with PSG star man Neymar sustaining an injury which could require an operation and leave him sidelined for as long as two months.
However, Varane is determined the blip to Espanyol will not have an affect on their trip to Paris and he expects a tough encounter with or without Neymar.
“This won’t have any effect on the PSG game,” he said. “Regardless of whether Neymar plays or not, it’ll be tough because they’ll come out all guns blazing. We’re ready for it and will continue with our preparations.”