He might have appeared a little irritated but Zinedine Zidane was probably grateful for Jose Mourinho’s mischief, writes Andy Dunn in Skopje .
And let’s face it, Ronaldo’s long-term relationship with Real Madrid is far more crucial to Zidane and the club than Bale’s.
Maybe that’s why Zidane was far more effusive when talking about Ronaldo, who only returned to training a couple of days ago but could even start against Manchester United here in Macedonia on Tuesday night.
Zidane did not try to hide his amazement at Ronaldo’s condition after his summer of Confederations Cup commitments and an extended break.
The Real Madrid coach said: “He’s relaxed and what impresses me most is that he’s as fit as the day of the Champions League final two months ago.
“Will he play? That depends on how he is, how he’s feeling and how I feel about him.
“The decision I will take myself as the coach. I will speak to the players, of course, but that’s it.
“He’s fit and that’s what is really important for the coach and the players and Madrid as an institution.”
Ronaldo then took centre-stage at training, and will clearly want to start against his old club.
Zidane, though, will not enjoy the focus being on the 32-year-old’s dynamic with United, in light of the speculation about a return to England.
“There are many things, a lot of noise and a lot of things happening, there’s not much we can do about it,” he said. “The fact he’s with us means a lot.”
After that, he was soon exiting stage left.
Ronaldo and Bale might well line up alongside each other on Tuesday night… but Zidane knows the questions won’t stop coming.
REAL MADRID (4-3-3) Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Modric, Casimero; Asensio, Benzema, Ronaldo.
MANCHESTER UNITED (3-4-3) De Gea; Lindelof, Smalling, Blind; Valencia, Herrera, Pogba, Darmian; Rashford, Lukaku, Lingard.