CHICAGO — Real Madrid concluded their tour of the U.S. with a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Major League Soccer in the All-Star Game, but manager Zinedine Zidane was not happy with his side’s three weeks in North America.
After clinching La Liga and Champions League titles last spring, Los Blancos lost their first three preseason contests prior to Wednesday’s victory vs. the MLS’ best at Soldier Field in Chicago.
“The sensation overall is not good,” he said in a news conference following the All-Star Game. “It’s good that we got the result, but the sensation is not positive overall. We only won one out of four games.
“The tour is done, now we have four days to go back and prepare for the [UEFA] Super Cup, which is our first official match, and obviously we have some things to work out.”
Madrid lost on penalties to Manchester United in their preseason opener, before falling 4-1 to Man City and 3-2 to Barcelona, failing to score more than two goals so far in preseason.
The absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has missed the club’s preseason while on a promotional tour of China — and is now back in Spain for a court appearance to respond to charges of tax fraud — has been keenly felt, but the manager insisted the club’s talisman deserved a rest following his participation in this summer’s Confederations Cup.
“He needed to rest and have his holidays,” he said. “It was important after a long year.”
Zidane couldn’t put his finger on any one reason why Madrid have struggled in their U.S. tour.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” he said. “We started poorly, especially with results, and sometimes we hit a bad streak in those four matches. What I want and what everyone wants is to get back home and have a little bit of a rest.”
Some rest is just what the Spanish and European champions will need, with a slew of fixtures on their horizon ahead of the start of their La Liga campaign on Aug. 20.
Madrid are due in Macedonia on Tuesday for their UEFA Super Cup match against Manchester United, before traveling to Barcelona five days later for the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup. The return leg at the Bernabeu takes place just three days later.
Austin Lindberg is a general editor for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter at @LindbergESPN.