The Los Blancos left-back rose to the occasion in the absence of the team’s leading goalscorer to give his side a crucial last-16 away win.
Real Madrid’s winner against Atalanta was a “pre-planned piece of play”, Zinedine Zidane has revealed.
However, Zidane further confessed, that it wasn’t Ferland Mendy who was supposed to be the one scoring the goal.
It appeared that the first leg of the Champions League last-16 clash between Real Madrid and Atalanta would end as a goalless draw with the scoresheet still empty until the final five minutes of the match.
Los Blancos looked toothless without Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos while La Dea were playing with ten men from the 17th minute after Remo Freuler was harshly sent off.
At the 86-minute mark, Mendy finally broke the deadlock as the left-back unleashed a powerful shot from outside the box to secure a crucial 1-0 win for the visitors.
“Yes, it was a pre-planned piece of play,” the Real Madrid manager told in his post-match press conference when asked about the goal, via Managing Madrid.
“But, the player who was supposed to shoot wasn’t Ferland! But well… he scored with his right foot. I think he actually sometimes manages to hit it with more power with his right. He’s more accurate with his left, but maybe stronger with his right.”
Zidane added on the match: “I don’t think we played a great game, but the important thing was the result.
“We have an away goal and a clean sheet. The tie is still alive, though. We’ll have to play a good game in the second leg.”