Zidane suggests Varane's injury issues may be playing on his mind

Raphael Varane was replaced early on in Real Madrid's 3-0 La Liga win over Alaves, but Zinedine Zidane is hopeful over his injury.

Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane   -  Getty Images

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is hopeful that an injury sustained by Raphael Varane during Sunday's 3-0 La Liga win against Alaves is not serious, but is concerned the defender may have a psychological issue with his fitness.

Varane, making his comeback having been sidelined for just over a month, started the game alongside Pepe as Zidane opted to rest Sergio Ramos, but the French defender could only complete 11 minutes before being replaced by Dani Carvajal, prompting a defensive reshuffle.

Carvajal then set up Benzema for the opening goal, with Isco and Nacho also on target for the league leaders. Zidane was unable to explain what appeared to be a recurrence of a hamstring injury for Varane.

"Varane has hurt himself in the same place," Zidane told reporters. "It's not as strong as it was three weeks ago and hopefully it will be short. We will evaluate [on Monday].

"From time to time he hurts something and I do not know if it is mental or something else. What I can tell you, to defend him is also that he has played many matches, won a Champions League title, he has done very good things. And he must first think that, because it is difficult.

"He had a very long and complicated injury. Now it is a matter of decompensation and things come out. They are not very big things but it prevents you from being 100 per cent or a level for the matches that we have.

"I hope it is not psychological. What I think and believe is that it is not serious. He told me, he does not think it's serious. He had his recovery time, he was ready. I talk a lot with the players and I always like that they are 100 per cent to play. Before the match Varane was 100 per cent ready. Things can happen, but I hope it's nothing serious."

Zidane highlighted the impact of Benzema, who scored his fourth goal in as many league games to put Madrid on track for a fifth successive victory in all competitions.

"He always unlocks situations with defenders or giving decisive passes. He is always in the action, generates chances," Zidane said. "He is ready and I am very happy for him and that in this final stretch of the season we can count on players who are important and do well. 

"It is true that we have many matches and therefore we must take into account every minute of the players. It is a form of resistance, we must suffer. We will not win easy matches. Every three days is a final. We must be constant and continue with this dynamic - that is important."

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