Zidane not focused on Madrid future: 'At the end of the season we will see'

By Sports Desk May 16, 2021

Zinedine Zidane insisted the only focus for Real Madrid should be their pivotal LaLiga finale against Villarreal, rather than his future at the club.

Los Blancos remain in the hunt to retain their league title thanks to a 1-0 win away at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, defender Nacho Fernandez the unlikely hero with the only goal of the game.

It appeared at one stage as if the reigning champions would be in pole position with one more round of fixtures to play, only for Atletico Madrid to produce an impressive comeback at home against Osasuna.

A late Luis Suarez winner at the Wanda Metropolitano has Diego Simeone's side two points ahead of their city rivals in the table.

Reports in the Spanish media on the day of the Athletic game said Zidane had informed the Madrid squad he will be leaving at the end of the campaign, but the Frenchman refused to be drawn on his situation.

"How am I going to tell my players that I am leaving now, when we are putting everything on the line?" Zidane said in his post-match press conference.

"When you say things from the outside, you can say whatever you want. I am not ever going to say that to my players.

"At the end of the season we will see, but now I am in this and am focused on the last match.

"We cannot talk constantly about my future; the most important thing is the last match that we have to play."

Zidane opted to retain the same forward line that started the 4-1 win over Granada on Thursday, meaning Eden Hazard once again had to settle for a place on the bench.

The Belgium international was introduced in the 77th minute in place of Rodrygo, with Zidane insisting it was simply a selection call made by himself, rather than any particular issue.

"Nothing has happened with Hazard, it is just that others are playing at the moment," he said.

"I have to choose the 11 and nothing more. He is contributing like everyone else.”

While Madrid host Villarreal in the Spanish capital next Sunday, Atletico have a trip to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid.

Zidane's side are on a 17-game unbeaten run in LaLiga, their best streak in a single campaign during his two stints in charge.

Related items

  • Christensen opens up on 'tough' decision to leave Chelsea ahead of expected Barcelona move Christensen opens up on 'tough' decision to leave Chelsea ahead of expected Barcelona move

    Andreas Christensen admits he struggled when making the 'tough' decision to leave Chelsea, with the Denmark international expected to join Barcelona on a free transfer.

    Chelsea confirmed earlier this month that Christensen was to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of his contract, having contributed to 14 clean sheets in 34 appearances for Thomas Tuchel's men in the 2021-22 season.

    The writing had looked to be on the wall for Christensen when Tuchel revealed the defender opted out of featuring in last month's FA Cup final defeat to Liverpool for "private" reasons, with Barca strongly linked with a move for the 26-year-old. 

    Christensen joined the London club as a youth player when leaving Brondby in 2012, going on to win the Champions League, Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup with the Blues.

    He has now opened up on the difficulties he faced in deciding to seek pastures new, writing on Instagram: "I had a tough decision to make at the age of 16 to leave Denmark. There was only ever one choice for me and that was Chelsea. From the moment I arrived they made me feel at home.

    "Some of my proudest moments at the club were when we won FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League. Those were a special group of young players that I was proud to have as team-mates.

    "Last year was my proudest achievement as a player and team when we lifted the Champions League in Porto.

    "I was a young boy at Chelsea with all the hopes and fears of a player starting his career, I'm grateful to the whole club for making my dream come true.

    "Having spent 10 amazing years at this club, I felt now was the right time for a new beginning for me and my family. Mentally the last few months have been tough as it's not been an easy decision to leave this club and the fans.

    "I'm not the most talkative person so sometimes people don't understand how much the club and the fans mean to me. I will miss the players, staff and everyone here. I wish the best for the club and the fans in the future."

    Christensen made 93 Premier League appearances for Chelsea and spent two seasons on loan at Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach between 2015 and 2017.

  • Bale almost joined Cardiff but LA offer 'too attractive' – Vincent Tan Bale almost joined Cardiff but LA offer 'too attractive' – Vincent Tan

    Gareth Bale was tempted by a move to Cardiff City but the offer tabled by Los Angeles FC proved "too attractive to turn down", according to Bluebirds owner Vincent Tan.

    Wales international Bale confirmed in a video posted on social media on Sunday that he will join MLS side LAFC when his Real Madrid contract expires later this week.

    The 32-year-old had also been linked with Madrid-based Getafe, which he categorically ruled out, as well as former side Tottenham and hometown club Cardiff among others.

    Bale is reported to have held talks with Cardiff boss Steve Morison during a recent trip to the club's training base, which they share with the Wales national side.

    Cardiff owner Tan has confirmed the Welsh side were in for the forward, but they were unable to match the terms offered by LAFC – even if money was not the decisive factor.

    "We were very, very keen and of course it would have been a big coup for us and would have been great for Gareth Bale to play for his hometown," Tan told talkSPORT.

    "We tried our very best, but we failed. Everybody would be happy if Gareth Bale returned home and played in Cardiff, but unfortunately the offer was too attractive to turn down.

    "He actually originally wanted to come, money wasn't the matter. We still tried to come up with a good offer for him.

    "But finally we had to compete when there is a lot of big American advertisers. The commercial deals there were very good, the commercial deal was very good for Gareth Bale."

     

    Bale is to join LAFC on a year-long contract using targeted allocation money, taking him through until the World Cup, where Wales will compete after a 64-year absence.

    The Southampton academy product reportedly has the option to stay on for the 2023 season, but Tan has not ruled out a switch to Cardiff next year to see out his career.

    "His contract is for 12 months. We will see what happens. Maybe in 12 months Gareth will want to come back and come home, serve Cardiff, his hometown," Tan said.

    "He has never played in Cardiff, a club he and his family are fans of. Hopefully in 12 months, he's still young, he will come back at 35 and some play until they are 40 years old.

    "He's still got a few years and hopefully he will come and play for Cardiff. It wasn’t really about the money. Gareth wanted to help Cardiff and help Wales. 

    "It wasn't really the money – that's why we could negotiate with him. He tried his best, but I think the offer from LAFC is too big to turn down."

    Bale's signing boosts an LAFC side who already lead the Supporters' Shield race and have also secured Giorgio Chiellini ahead of the MLS transfer window opening next month.

    The pair could therefore make their debuts in El Trafico against rivals LA Galaxy on July 8.

  • PSG close in on Galtier appointment as Nice announce Favre return PSG close in on Galtier appointment as Nice announce Favre return

    Paris Saint-Germain appear close to finalising the appointment of Christophe Galtier after Nice announced his departure, with former Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre replacing him for a second spell at the club. 

    PSG have been expected to dispense with the services of Mauricio Pochettino since falling to a dramatic Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid in March, despite wrapping up their 10th Ligue 1 title last season.

    Galtier, who beat PSG to the title as Lille boss in 2020-21, emerged as their number one target after leading Nice to a fifth-placed finish and the Coupe de France final last term.

    The 55-year-old also won the Coupe de la Ligue as Saint-Etienne coach in 2012-13, and has been named Ligue 1 Manager of the Season on three occasions - in 2012-13, 2018-19 and 2020-21.

    Speaking to Le Parisien last week, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi confirmed the club's interest in Galtier, saying: "We are discussing with Nice, it is not a secret. I hope that we will find an agreement quickly."

     

    That agreement now looks to be close after Nice confirmed Galtier's departure on Monday, revealing Favre will return to the club he led between 2016 and 2018.

    "Christophe Galtier is no longer in charge of the first team at OGC Nice," read a statement on the club's website. 

    "This Monday morning, the resumption of the Aiglons will be led by Lucien Favre, whose return the club is proud to announce.

    "His first stint on the Cote d'Azur will go down in history. So when it comes to a future full of challenges, it is difficult not to mix ambition and sentiment. 

    "The excitement felt by the whole red and black community at the simple mention of his name, for years now, illustrates wonderfully the attachment that is felt for him."

    Favre led Nice to a third-placed finish in the 2016-17 season, Mario Balotelli top-scoring with 15 Ligue 1 goals as they sealed Champions League qualification, before departing for Dortmund in 2018.

    Favre enjoyed a stunning start to his Dortmund tenure, going unbeaten through his first 15 league games, but failed to end Bayern Munich's dominance of the Bundesliga, finishing second in each of his two full seasons before departing in December 2020.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.