Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane backs 'phenomenal' attacking stars

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has backed his star forwards to shine against Athletic Bilbao at the Bernabeu on Sunday.

Madrid are joint top of La Liga with 14 different players having scored in their eight league games, leading Marca to observe that Zidane had "14 Cristiano Ronaldos" in his squad.

But Ronaldo has gone three home games without scoring, while Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema -- the other members of the "BBC" frontline -- are also yet to hit top form, with Marco Asensio and Alvaro Morata pushing for places.

Zidane, speaking at his prematch news conference, said he trusted in his "three phenomenons" and added: "For me, they are doing well. We have the good fortune to have these three phenomenons and then the others, who are also great players.

"I must make the decisions, I know what each player can bring to the team. Each game is different. I always take a long time to select the team, but that is my job."

In-form Athletic have won five of their last six La Liga games to climb to sixth in the table but have lost on each of their last 11 visits to the Bernabeu.

And Zidane said: "We know how important this game is. We want to keep going on this path. We have had a very good week, and we have worked well since Tuesday's game [the 5-1 Champions League home win over Legia Warsaw]."

Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Casemiro remain unavailable due to injury, with Zidane saying it was strange that the latter had been called up by Brazil for their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers despite being sidelined with a broken bone in his leg.

"We must be very attentive and look at it day to day," he said. "The first thing is he must recover. At the moment it is difficult, as he is not yet back working with us."

Both Modric and Toni Kroos have confirmed new contracts with Madrid in recent days, and Zidane predicted that central defender Pepe would soon join them.

"If players are renewing their contracts, it is good," he said. "Pepe is the same. He has been here many years and done so much with this club, with this jersey. His turn will come for sure."