Zidane Says Real ‘Not Looking For Revenge’ Against PSG

Zidane Downplays Reported Madrid's Move For Pogba
Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane. AFP

Zinedine Zidane said that his Real Madrid side are “not looking to get revenge” when they host Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday after a 3-0 defeat in France earlier in the group stage.

Pressure mounted on Zidane after that loss at the Parc des Princes in September, but the 13-time European champions have since enjoyed an upturn in fortunes and sit behind leaders Barcelona only on goal difference in La Liga.

Real can join PSG in securing a last-16 place with victory at the Santiago Bernabeu, or if Club Brugge fail to win at Galatasaray in the other Group A match.

“We aren’t looking to get revenge after what happened earlier in the group,” Zidane said on Monday.

“But we want to play a good game of course and maintain our form.

“It’s the kind of game where you can confirm you’re on a good run. We want to win because we’re at home and we want to play good football.

“I want to see my side play 90 minutes at their best.”

READ ALSO: Pinnick Meets England-born Midfielder Ebere Eze Over Chances To Play For Nigeria

Frenchman Zidane was rebuked by PSG sporting director Leonardo earlier this month for comments about a possible move for his compatriot Kylian Mbappe, when he said the Paris forward’s “dream is to play for Real Madrid”.

The 47-year-old made clear again his admiration for Mbappe ahead of Tuesday’s encounter.

“You know that I’ve known Mbappe for a long time and that I’m in love with him as a person because of when he came here on trial a long time ago,” said Zidane.

“Having said that, he’s our opponent and there’s no more to it.”

Real have recovered in the Champions League after also being held to a 2-2 home draw by Brugge in their second game, beating Galatasaray home and away including a 6-0 thrashing in Madrid last time out.

Goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is hoping the Spanish giants can show how far they have come since the loss in Paris.

“The first meeting with them helped us learn a lot — it wasn’t a good game but we’ve improved a lot lately,” said the Belgian.

“It’s not revenge, more wanting to get one over on another big team who have aspirations to win the Champions League and we need to show how good we are.”

PSG ready for ‘big challenge’

PSG lead Real, who knocked them out of the tournament in the last 16 two years ago, by five points with two matches remaining and can secure top spot in the group by avoiding defeat.

“They have great qualities and a great mentality, it is a big challenge,” said Paris coach Thomas Tuchel.

“The match will be different from the first leg. The Bernabeu is a very hard venue to play. Madrid are in good form, they score a lot and barely concede.

“But we have a balanced and dangerous team. We are ready for this challenge, I am sure of that. We have to work together and suffer together.”

The French champions are still without injured duo Ander Herrera and Thilo Kehrer, but have Neymar back after the world’s most expensive player returned for his first appearance since October 5 against Lille on Friday.

Bale Starts Madrid’s Opener Against Celta

Bale had been expected to leave Real Madrid this summer.  File photo: GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Gareth Bale’s unexpected reintegration at Real Madrid continued on Saturday when he was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up to play Celta Vigo.

Zinedine Zidane had been keen to sell Bale this summer but admitted on Friday that “things change” and he was now counting on the Welshman this season.

Bale was left out of the squad completely for three pre-season games but returned for the final friendly against Roma, coming off the bench in the second half.

An injury to Eden Hazard has opened a spot up front alongside Karim Benzema, and Zidane has chosen Bale ahead of the likes of Luka Jovic, Lucas Vazquez and Isco.

Bale was close to leaving in July but Madrid cancelled a deal with Chinese club Jiangsu Suning while the winger’s salary of around 18 million euros a year has proven too high for other interested clubs.

Bale reportedly prefers to stay at Madrid, where he has a contract until 2022, and is not interested in moving to Paris Saint-Germain, despite suggestions he could be included in a bid for Neymar.

“It looked like he was leaving and now he’s here with us, that’s it,” Zidane said.

“The dynamic changes and things change and now I’m going to count on him like everyone else. I said it a short time ago, I’m going to count on all the players that are here.”

Zidane had promised wholesale changes but none of the club’s five summer signings started against Celta.

Hazard and Ferland Mendy are both out injured while Jovic and Eder Militao were on the bench. Youngster Rodrygo is still gaining experience with the reserve team.

AFP

Things Change, I’m Now Counting On Bale – Zidane

Gareth Bale, Zinedine Zidane

 

Zinedine Zidane has admitted Gareth Bale is back in his plans ahead of Real Madrid’s opening La Liga game of the season against Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Eden Hazard sustained a thigh injury in training on Friday, meaning Bale could even start against Celta following a turbulent summer for the Welshman.

Zidane was keen for Bale to be sold but Madrid cancelled a deal with Chinese club Jiangsu Suning while the winger’s salary of around 18 million euros a year has proven too high for other interested clubs.

Bale is also eager to stay at Madrid, where he has a contract until 2022, and is not interested in moving to Paris Saint-Germain, despite suggestions he could be included in a bid for Neymar.

“It looked like he was leaving and now he’s here with us, that’s it,” Zidane said.

“The dynamic changes and things change and now I’m going to count on him like everyone else. I said it a short time ago, I’m going to count on all the players that are here.”

Zidane left Bale out of his squad for three consecutive pre-season friendlies but the 30-year-old returned for the last game against Roma, when he came off the bench in the second half.

The transfer window in Spain closes on September 2.

“He has a contract, he’s an important player and I hope all the players want to make it difficult for me to pick the team,” Zidane added.

Zidane had promised wholesale changes this summer and his first press conference of the season was dominated by questions about the transfer window.

He refused to be drawn on a move for Neymar, insisting: “Neymar is not a Real Madrid player. We are interested in the players that are here.”

And on the failed attempt to buy Paul Pogba from Manchester United, he said: “Paul is a player for Manchester United and we have to respect that. Here we are thinking about the game tomorrow.”

But Madrid’s failure to sign Pogba and sell either Bale or James Rodriguez means the club’s president Florentino Perez has perhaps not delivered the sort of changes Zidane had hoped for.

“It’s not about whether it’s positive or negative,” Zidane said. “I accept what I have. We’ve talked with the people that have to do those things and it is the games now that interest us.”

Zidane said James is fit and ready to be involved against Celta. “He is in shape and I’m glad to have him,” Zidane said.

But Hazard is expected to be out for three to four weeks and joins Ferland Mendy, who is recovering from a calf problem, and Marco Asensio, who has ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament, on the sidelines.

Zidane Already Clear On Real Madrid Transfer Targets

BREAKING: Zidane Steps Down As Real Madrid Manager
“You can never stand still.” Zinedine Zidane is certain is that there will be changes at Real Madrid in the summer. JAVIER SORIANO / AFP

 

Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday he knows exactly what kind of players he wants to sign this summer as he looks to revamp Real Madrid’s squad for next season.

Madrid are expected to be busy after a miserable campaign that has left them lying 13 points behind Barcelona in La Liga, after already crashing out of the Champions League in the last 16.

Several players could depart, with Gareth Bale’s future particularly uncertain, while among those likely to arrive at the Santiago Bernabeu is Chelsea forward Eden Hazard.

“I know exactly what I want,” Zidane said at a press conference.

“Nothing is ever concrete with these things, it’s just what you aim to do, your desire to change certain things, that’s all.

“We have talked about player profiles and that is clear in my head. We’ll see what we can do. What is certain is that there will be changes. You can never stand still.”

Zidane was again asked about the likelihood of Welshman Bale staying and offered no guarantees. “We have not talked about that and we’re not going to talk about that,” Zidane said.

“We are thinking about the game tomorrow and nothing else.”

Zidane will have Vinicius Junior at his disposal, whose breakthrough has been one of the only positives for Madrid this season, but who is yet to play under the Frenchman as he has been out since March with a knee injury.

Vinicius trained on Saturday with the first team and could be in contention to feature on Sunday, when Madrid host in-form Athletic Bilbao.

“I’m glad to see him with us but he has to go slowly,” Zidane said. “He has been out for two months so we have to be very careful with him. He has shown his quality and he is an exciting player for the future.”

Keylor Navas is likely to continue in goal against Bilbao, with Thibaut Courtois recovering from a thigh injury. Captain Sergio Ramos is struggling with a calf strain.

AFP

Zidane’s Praise For Pogba Opens Door To Possible Real Bid

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba / AFP

 

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane opened the door to a possible bid for Paul Pogba on Saturday when he hailed the Manchester United star as “a player who knows how to do everything”.

The French World Cup winner has thrived under new United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but has made no secret of his admiration for Real.

“It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world. I’ve always said Real Madrid is a dream club for every player,” the midfielder said last week.

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Zidane is a self-confessed Pogba fan, the Real boss telling a press conference: “I really like the player, that’s nothing new.

“I know him personally… He’s a really different player, somebody who brings something few others can to the pitch.

“He’s capable of doing everything. There are midfielders who know how to defend really well, others who are very good in attack. He knows how to do everything.”

Zidane, who returned as Real manager after replacing Santiago Solari, added: “One day if he has the chance to do something else after Manchester United, he’s always said that Madrid was a club that interested him a lot.”

Pogba, 26, moved from Juventus to United for 105 million euros in 2016 with his contract terminating in 2021.

Spanish media suggest Real will go on a massive recruitment drive this summer with a war chest of up to 500 million euros.

AFP

Leaving Ronaldo And Zidane Was A Terrible Decision – Fans React To Madrid’s Loss

 

A youthful Ajax side ended Real Madrid’s reign in the Champions League on Tuesday, with a brilliant performance that stunned the defending champions at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Following the defeat, accusing fingers have been pointed in various directions, debates also have been stirred as to the cause of Madrid’s downfall.

Fans have taken to various social media platforms to air their views about Madrid’s woe, with many linking what can now be called a nightmare, to the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane.

Below are some comments by fans and critics on Twitter.

READ ALSO: Madrid Failure Puts Solari Under Fire And Faith In Youth To The Test

Zidane, Deschamps Nominated For FIFA Best Coach Award

Zidane                                                                                    Deschamps                               Credit: AFP

 

France’s World Cup winning manager Didier Deschamps, Zlatko Dalic and Zinedine Zidane were nominated as the finalists for FIFA’s coach of the year award on Monday.

Deschamps became just the third man to win the World Cup as a player and coach with victory over Dalic’s Croatia in July’s final in Russia.

Zidane was a team-mate of Deschamps when France first won the World Cup in 1998 and is nominated after guiding Real Madrid to a third Champions League in his two-and-a-half year reign at the Bernabeu before stepping down in June.

AFP

Real Madrid Appoint Spain’s Coach, Lopetegui As Manager

Real Madrid Appoint Spain Coach, Lopetegui As Manager
Spain’s coach Julen Lopetegui will replace Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid coach after the 2018 World Cup. Photo: Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP

 

Real Madrid on Tuesday announced the appointment of Spain’s Julen Lopetegui as their coach from next season, stunning the national team ahead of the start of the World Cup.

“Real Madrid announce that Julen Lopetegui will be the coach of the first team during the next three seasons,” the Champions League winners said in a statement, adding that the 51-year-old “will join the club after Spain’s participation in the World Cup”.

Lopetegui will replace Zinedine Zidane as coach at the Santiago Bernabeu, after the Frenchman quit on May 31 in the wake of their Champions League final win over Liverpool in Kiev.

The news comes as a jolt for Spain, just three days before their opening game at the Russian World Cup against Iberian neighbours Portugal in Sochi.

Lopetegui and the Spain squad are currently at their training base in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed that Madrid will pay compensation to get Lopetegui out of the two years he has remaining on his contract with the national team.

He only signed an extension to his deal until 2020 last month.

“The RFEF will receive payment of the release clause so that the current national coach can join Real Madrid,” read a statement, adding that Lopetegui would appear alongside federation president Luis Rubiales at a press conference at Spain’s Russian training base on Wednesday at 11:30 am (0830 GMT).

Spain are among the favourites to win the World Cup after an almost flawless qualifying campaign, and he will be hoping that the announcement does not overly unsettle his squad just before the competition gets underway.

Lopetegui’s national squad includes six Real players in Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Nacho Fernandez, Marco Asensio, Isco and Lucas Vazquez.

“The RFEF requests the maximum respect in order to maintain normality in the national team camp ahead of our debut in the tournament against Portugal,” added the federation’s statement.

Unbeaten record

Lopetegui was appointed as Spain coach in the wake of their poor showing at Euro 2016 in France when they were eliminated in the last 16, losing 2-0 to Italy.

Zidane quit Real after a remarkable two and a half years in charge during which he led the club to three consecutive Champions League titles, as well as one La Liga crown.

However, Real finished third in La Liga in the season just finished, 17 points behind champions Barcelona, and Zidane had admitted that he was unsure of his ability to oversee more success in the future.

His decision to quit as Madrid coach suddenly left the Spanish giants in limbo. Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino had initially emerged as the leading candidate to replace the Frenchman but will now stay in the Premier League.

As a player, Basque-born Lopetegui was a goalkeeper on Real’s books early in his career, and he returned for a spell in charge of their second team a decade ago.

He also briefly played for Barcelona and later led Spain’s under-21 side to the European Championship title in 2013.

He went on to coach Porto before succeeding Vicente del Bosque, who had overseen Spain’s triumphs at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 but had also been in charge for the disappointing group-stage exit at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

La Roja cruised through qualifying for this year’s World Cup, with nine wins and a draw in 10 games, scoring 36 goals and conceding three.

Indeed, Spain are still unbeaten under the Basque after 20 matches including friendlies.

AFP

Real Fan Nadal Salutes ‘Good, Humble’ Zidane

Spain’s Rafael Nadal                                                                                                  PEDRO PARDO / AFP

 

Real Madrid fan Rafael Nadal said he was sorry that Zinedine Zidane had quit as coach of the European champions but hailed the Frenchman as a “good, humble person”.

Zidane stunned football on Thursday by quitting as Real coach just five days after leading them to the Champions League title.

“It’s tough to accept that he’s leaving,” said Nadal on the sidelines of the French Open where he is chasing an 11th title.

“He is a great coach who had a lot of success with the team. He is a good, humble person who represents the right values.

“He is the perfect example of how someone who has been successful does the everyday things normally without saying negative things about the club, players, referees.

“Zinedine is always smiling even in the difficult moments, so thanks to him for always setting the right examples.”

AFP

Real Fans Rejoice At Bernabeu After European Success

Real Fans Rejoice At Bernabeu After European Success
Real Madrid fans hold a banner reading “Irreducible” as they celebrate outside the Santiago Bernabeu stadium after their team won the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Kiev’s Olympic Stadium, in Madrid on May 26, 2018.

 

Tens of thousands of Real Madrid supporters erupted in delight at the club’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium after Saturday’s 3-1 Champions League final victory over Liverpool in Kiev.

Familiar chants of “Campeones, campeones” rang out at the final whistle after Real fans flocked to the ground to watch the match which was broadcast on eight giant screens at the Bernabeu.

“We’re the best club in Europe, we’re the best club in the world, we’re the best club in history, we are Real Madrid!” shouted the stadium announcer, as the Spanish giants won a record-extending 13th European Cup.

The club’s “decimotercera” moved them six titles clear of second-placed AC Milan in the competition’s all-time honours list, after lifting the trophy for a remarkable fourth time in five seasons.

Frenchman Zinedine Zidane also became the first coach to win three consecutive Champions League crowns, despite having spent less than three years at the helm.

AFP

Zidane Reacts To Real’s ‘Crazy’ Third Straight Champions League Title

 

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said his side’s third successive Champions League title was “something crazy” after the Spanish giants defeated Liverpool 3-1 in Saturday’s final in Kiev.

Gareth Bale scored two goals as a second-half substitute, including an outrageous overhead scissor kick, after Sadio Mane had cancelled out Karim Benzema’s opener.

“Tonight is certainly a historic moment,” Zidane told BeIn Sports. “To win three times in a row… It’s something crazy to experience that. Even if we believe it, we think about it when we work hard.

“With a team like this, we can go far but to win three of them, it’s something crazy.

“You have to make the most of it, and think about what the players have done together.”

Zidane, 45, became the first coach to win the Champions Leagues in three consecutive seasons, having only taken charge of the team in his first senior management role in January 2016.

AFP

Zidane Becomes First Coach To Win Three Straight Champions League Titles

Zidane Becomes First Coach To Win Three Straight Champions League Titles
Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane (R) celebrates with Real Madrid’s Croatian midfielder Luka Modric (L) after winning the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine, on May 26, 2018. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Zinedine Zidane has become the first coach to win three straight Champions League titles.

The Frenchman who is considered one of the greatest players and helped Real Madrid to Champions League victory in 2002, has excelled as a coach since he replaced Rafa Benitez as Real boss in January 2016.

Super Sub Bale

On Saturday, Gareth Bale scored twice including an incredible overhead kick after coming off the bench to help Real defeated Liverpool 3-1.

Karim Benzema struck a bizarre opening goal on 51 minutes before Liverpool, who lost leading scorer Mohamed Salah to injury in the first half, replied through Sadio Mane.

Bale replaced Isco on the hour and connected with an outrageous acrobatic effort on 64 minutes to put Real back in front.

The Welshman sealed a record-extending 13th European Cup title for Real with seven minutes left as a dreadful mistake from Loris Karius allowed his long-range shot to find the net.