Zinedine Zidane will head into pivotal talks with Real Madrid "in the next few days" after his team finished the season empty-handed.

A 2-1 win over Villarreal on Saturday was a hollow success, given rivals Atletico Madrid also won to clinch the LaLiga title, and Zidane summed up his emotions afterwards by saying: "My mood is screwed up."

Late goals from Karim Benzema and Luka Modric saw Madrid turn around the home game, after Yeremy Pino gave Villarreal the lead.

That goal made Yeremy the youngest player to score away against Madrid in LaLiga in the 21st century, at the age of 18 years and 214 days.

Villarreal have a Europa League final against Manchester United in Gdansk ahead of them on Wednesday, but Madrid's season is over.

Zidane is widely expected to leave, but he held fire on confirming his plans in the wake of the Villarreal game.

"We have to be calm. I'm going to talk to the club quietly, but later. Not now," Zidane said. "In the next few days we will talk about it. Soon we will see what will happen, not only with me but also with the club for next season."

Had Zidane announced his departure, it would have taken a good deal of attention away from Atletico.

Instead, he praised Diego Simeone's team for lasting the pace in the title race, ultimately finishing two points clear of Los Blancos and seven ahead of third-placed Barcelona.

"We must congratulate Atletico who deserve it, because the team at the top deserve it," Zidane said in a post-game news conference.

"We have given everything on the field and I am responsible for everything. What the players want is to win."

Madrid finished their LaLiga campaign on an 18-game unbeaten run, winning 13 and drawing five in that sequence to apply pressure on one-time runaway leaders Atletico.

That goes down as their best run without defeat in a single league season since Carlo Ancelotti's Madrid also strung together 18 unbeaten games in the 2013-14 campaign, winning 15 times.

Yet Madrid finish the season without a pot to their name, after an early Copa del Rey exit to Alcoyano, a Champions League semi-final loss to Chelsea, and a Supercopa de Espana last-four defeat to Athletic Bilbao.

"We have not won anything. We know what we have to achieve," Zidane said. "The fans are the most important thing here. They have to be very proud of what the players have done. We have given everything."

The 48-year-old Frenchman became the world's most expensive footballer when he arrived at Madrid from Juventus in July 2001, and it might be a wrench to leave the club for a third time.

He has departed as a player and as a coach before, and he might not get another chance to return to the job he currently holds.

Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid missed out on the title and had to find comfort in the late comeback that brought a 2-1 home win against Villarreal in LaLiga.

Madrid have ended a season without silverware for the first time since 2009-10, and there are doubts over whether captain Sergio Ramos and particularly coach Zidane will remain at the club.

Needing a win here to stand any chance of overtaking Atletico Madrid, the long-time leaders, Zidane's team were sorely lacking in quality and looked set to end their campaign on a losing note.

LaLiga has worthy champions in Atletico, with Madrid trailing here for much of the game to a goal from 18-year-old Yeremy Pino, before Karim Benzema netted an 87th-minute leveller and Luka Modric fired a stoppage-time winner.

Zinedine Zidane feels flattered that Real Madrid's stars want him to stay at the club but claimed the team might be capable of hitting greater heights without him.

The Frenchman is widely expected to step down as Madrid coach during the close season, and confirmation of that could come as soon as Saturday.

Villarreal, who will face Manchester United in the Europa League final next Wednesday, provide the opposition for Madrid's final match of the campaign.

There is a chance Madrid could finish as LaLiga champions, but they head into the fixture with a two-point deficit to Atletico Madrid, who travel to Real Valladolid.

That would be an ideal way for Zidane to bow out of his second spell in charge of Los Blancos, although the most likely outcome is that his team finish runners-up.

When it was mentioned to Zidane in his pre-match news conference that the players would welcome him staying on, the 48-year-old said: "I love my players very much. They have saved me on the pitch, in the sense that they have always given everything in every game.

"That they think that for me is very nice as a coach."

Three-time FIFA world player of the year Zidane has won three Champions League titles with Madrid and LaLiga twice.

Asked whether Madrid could be a better side without him, Zidane gave a surprising response, saying: "Sure, sure."

He repeatedly refused to answer whether his mind was made up on his future.

"We are going to play tomorrow, that's the important thing. We have time to talk about that. This is not the time," Zidane said. "We must put all the energy into tomorrow's game After 37 matchdays we are not going to waste time talking about next year. We are only focusing on tomorrow's game.

"The important thing is not what I am going to do, but the team. I repeat myself, I'm sorry."

A barren season on the trophy front would be a sorry way for Zidane, the galactico turned superstar boss, to make his exit.

He could yet become the first Real Madrid manager to win two league titles in a row since Leo Beenhakker's three between 1987 and 1989, and Zidane may hope Villarreal's focus is on their European final.

However, Villarreal, who sit seventh heading into the weekend, will want to guarantee a place in next season's European competitions through their league placing, so it is not a dead game for them either.

Madrid have only won two of their last seven meetings with Villarreal in LaLiga (D4 L1). However, promisingly for Zidane, both of those wins came in their past two home league games (3-2 in May 2019 and 2-1 in July 2020).

If Madrid miss out on the title, Zidane accepts there will be disappointment, but he said: "My players cannot be blamed for anything. Injuries, COVID, there have been many things.

"You can always do better and I am always critical of myself. I am a winner and I don't like to lose. In my life I fight and I give everything to win. And the players also want to win."

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos will be fit for a decisive weekend in LaLiga's title race, news that also hands Spain a major boost for Euro 2020.

Eden Hazard, though, has sustained an injury that will rule him out on Saturday, after head coach Zinedine Zidane delivered a pre-match injury update at his news conference.

Real Madrid are two points behind leaders and city rivals Atletico Madrid ahead of the final round of fixtures.

Atleti travel to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid while Real Madrid are at home to seventh-placed Villarreal.

If Atleti are crowned LaLiga champions it means Madrid will end the season without a major trophy, and there has been speculation that Zidane will quit as head coach.

But the presence of Ramos, who has been restricted to 15 top-flight appearances after sustaining a series of injuries this season, will lift the spirits of Madrid as well as giving Spain cause for cheer.

The defender has been out since he suffered a hamstring injury against Chelsea on May 5. That had been his first Madrid appearance for seven weeks after a previous absence.

"Yes, tomorrow he will be with us," Zidane said about Ramos. "Then, in the team, you will see him.

"I would always take Sergio [to the Euros if I was in charge] – always, whatever happens. He is one who always gives everything.

"Hazard has something. Not much, but we don't want to risk. If he doesn't train with the team, it's because something's wrong with him. That's it. So, he won't be there.

"It is a special day; it is the last game of a league with difficulties. We know who we are going to play against, a team that is doing very well. We are going to strive to get the three points."

Gianluigi Donnarumma's future is dominating headlines.

Milan want to re-sign the Italy international but time is running out.

A blockbuster move to LaLiga could be on the horizon…

 

TOP STORY – DONNARUMMA TO SPAIN?

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has been offered to Barcelona by his agent Mino Raiola, according to Diario AS.

Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season and the Italy international is yet to re-sign with Milan.

He has been linked with Serie A rivals Juventus, Barca, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Donnarumma's arrival could force Barca to sell star number one Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS claims Kylian Mbappe's proposed transfer to Real Madrid does not hinge on head coach Zinedine Zidane, who could leave at the end of the season. Former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri and Madrid great Raul have emerged as the frontrunners should Zidane leave, but it will not impact Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe's future. Madrid have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Tottenham's Harry Kane.

Sergio Aguero is set to accept a contract offer from Barca until June 2023, reports Fabrizio Romano. Aguero is poised to become a free agent once his deal with Manchester City expires. Lyon captain Memphis Depay is also on the verge of moving to Camp Nou on a free transfer.

- Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul, Atalanta's Josip Ilicic and Roma attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan are potential replacements for Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu, according to Tuttosport. Calhanoglu's contract is expiring at San Siro amid links with Juve, United and clubs in Qatar.

Monza are eyeing Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Monza – owned by former Milan president Silvio Berlusconi – are currently in Serie B and missed out on promotion via the playoffs. Monza also boast Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng. Buffon has already revealed he will leave Juve at the end of the season.

Zinedine Zidane should be spared any blame if Real Madrid fail to win LaLiga this season, according to the club's former goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Madrid are two points behind leaders and city rivals Atletico ahead of the final round of fixtures.

Atleti travel to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid while Madrid are at home to seventh-placed Villarreal.

If Atleti are crowned LaLiga champions it means Madrid will end the season without a major trophy, and there has been speculation in Spain that Zidane will quit as head coach.

Casillas, however, claimed his former Madrid team-mate should not be vilified if they end up without any silverware this season, given his previous achievements.

Zidane has twice won LaLiga and landed a hat-trick of Champions League titles as Madrid boss in addition to winning the Supercopa, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup all on two occasions.

"Zidane can't be criticised for anything," Casillas, who made 510 LaLiga appearances for Madrid, told Radio Marca.

"What he has achieved is incredible, and is only in the reach of very few or even a single person.

"I would have preferred Real Madrid to be sat in first, but I hope that Real Valladolid can help us win this weekend. I wish everyone luck, but let's see if we have a little more ourselves and we can win LaLiga."

Where will Harry Kane play in 2021-22?

The Tottenham star Kane reportedly wants out of his boyhood club.

Premier League rivals Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea are ready to pounce…

 

TOP STORY – KANE SEEKING SPURS DEPARTURE

Harry Kane has told Tottenham he wants to leave the club in the off-season, according to widespread reports in England.

Frustrated at a lack of silverware in London, Spurs star Kane would reportedly prefer to remain in the Premier League amid links to champions Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Kane is believed to be open to a LaLiga switch, with Barcelona among his admirers.

 

ROUND-UP

- The front page of Diario AS claims former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is the favourite to replace Zinedine Zidane if the Frenchman leaves Real Madrid. Club great Raul, who is currently in charge of the Castilla team, is another option. It comes as Madrid push to bring in a franchise player in the form of Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, while Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Bayern Munich's David Alaba are also wanted amid links to Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga and United midfielder Paul Pogba.

- The Sun says City are considering a mega move for Barca superstar Lionel Messi, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Messi is reportedly open to reuniting with Pep Guardiola in Manchester on a one-year deal.

Barca are weighing up the futures of Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Antoine Griezmann and Sergi Roberto, reports Mundo Deportivo. Due to their financial situation, the players could be asked to take a pay cut as Lyon captain Memphis Depay prepares to arrive on a free transfer. City forward Sergio Aguero and defender Eric Garcia, Haaland and Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum have also been linked.

- Lille's Jonathan Ikone is Dortmund's top priority as the Bundesliga club prepare for life without Jadon Sancho, according to France Football. Sancho has been tipped to join United or Liverpool, while Dortmund are also eyeing PSV sensation Donyell Malen, Ajax forward David Neres and Pedro Goncalves of Sporting CP.

Real Madrid have announced Toni Kroos – who was already in isolation – has tested positive for COVID-19, ruling him out of action for LaLiga's finale.

Midfielder Kroos missed Sunday's 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao due to health and safety protocols having come into direct contact with a confirmed coronavirus case.

The Germany international had remained away from the club since Friday, when Madrid issued a statement revealing he had returned negative test results at that stage.

However, he will now miss the final game of the season for Los Blancos, who remain in the running to retain their league title in Spain.

"Real Madrid announces that our player, Toni Kroos, tested positive in the COVID-19 test he underwent today," a statement from the club read on Monday.

"Kroos has been in isolation since Friday, May 14 after having come into direct contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19."

Madrid's triumph at the weekend leaves them still two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid going into the closing weekend of the campaign.

It had appeared Zinedine Zidane's side were going to take over at the summit, only for their city rivals to stage a comeback at home against Osasuna. Luis Suarez scored a late winner at the Wanda Metropolitano to grab a 2-1 triumph that keeps them in pole position.

Madrid host Europa League finalists Villarreal on Sunday, while Diego Simeone's Atleti travel to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid.

Kroos' health will also be of great interest to Germany coach Joachim Low, too, considering the delayed Euro 2020 tournament begins next month.

The former Bayern Munich player missed the World Cup qualifiers in March due to injury, meaning his most recent international appearance came in the 6-0 Nations League loss to Spain in November 2020.

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.

Nacho Fernandez's second-half goal ensured Real Madrid still have a chance of retaining their LaLiga title on the final day of the season as they beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0, but Atletico Madrid remain in the driving seat.

Madrid briefly looked to be going into their last match of 2020-21 at the top of the table after Nacho fortuitously put them in front while Atletico trailed, but Diego Simeone's men enjoyed a late turnaround against Osasuna to stay two points clear.

The build-up to Madrid's trip to San Mames had centred around reports Zinedine Zidane will leave at the end of the season, and for much of the game his team looked incapable of clinching the victory that could set up a triumphant conclusion for the French coach.

But with 22 minutes to go, Nacho bundled home what proved to be the winner, though Atletico's battling comeback at the Wanda Metropolitano means Madrid will need a helping hand if they are to be champions again, while Barcelona's chances are over following a 2-1 home defeat by Celta Vigo.

The uncertain future of Kylian Mbappe means Paris Saint-Germain's off-season plans remain unclear.

The big-spending French powerhouse could enter the market to make a splash if the superstar 22-year-old forward exits.

PSG are currently in a Ligue 1 title fight and fell in the Champions League semi-finals.

 

TOP STORY - PSG TO TURN TO BAYERN'S LEWANDOWSKI

L'Equipe claims that PSG have put Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski firmly on their radar, should Kylian Mbappe leave.

Mbappe has been heavily linked with Real Madrid along with Liverpool and Manchester United.

L'Equipe reports that PSG will want to be proactive and land a major signing if Mbappe exits and the Bundesliga top scorer is top of their list, even if Bayern are determined to keep him.

Lewandowski is contracted with Bayern until 2023 although there have been some rumblings about entertaining a move elsewhere.

 

ROUND-UP

- Goal are reporting that Zinedine Zidane has informed his Real Madrid players that he will leave at the end of this season. The Sunday Mirror claims the club are already considering Everton's Carlo Ancelotti and ex-Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri as his replacement.

- Arsenal have joined Manchester City in the race to sign departing Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand reports the Mail on Sunday.

- West Ham are reportedly front of the queue to sign West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone according to Football Insider.

- Bayern Munich are targeting Inter defender Achraf Hakimi according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Marca claims Real Madrid are interested in Rennes teenage midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

Zinedine Zidane insisted he does not know what is going to happen concerning his future at Real Madrid, but did little to quell talk of him quitting amid rumours of an impending resignation.

ZIdane has a contract with Madrid until the end of next season but reports have suggested he will end his second stint as the club's coach prematurely even if they win LaLiga. Madrid trail city rivals Atletico Madrid by two points with two games remaining.

Talk of him departing was predictably a hot topic ahead of Sunday's visit to Athletic Bilbao, with Zidane adamant his future is not in his thinking as Los Blancos bid to retain the title.

"I'm going to answer the same thing," he told a pre-match media conference. "It's boring because of what I always say, playing both games ... It's the truth, I don't know what's going to happen.

"I am here, yes, tomorrow we are going to play and the last game will be missing [from his thinking]. The rest I do not know, anything can happen, it is Real Madrid.

"My strength is from day to day, I do not see myself beyond day to day. I do not look at the past or the future, it is the present to the fullest."

However, asked if he was "making it easy for the club", Zidane appeared to drop several hints that this spell as coach is about to come to a close.

"Maybe you think I'm quitting because I'm taking responsibility or I'm quitting because things get complicated. Never, nothing," Zidane replied.

"The only thing is that what I do, I do it to the max. And there comes a time when things ... It's time to change. But for everyone, not for me. For the good of the players, the club, the people.

"I don't let go because it's easy to say that I take off, turn around and don't want to look at them, moments are like that. There are moments when you have to be and others when you have to change."

Madrid have not lost a league game since January, but damaging draws with Getafe, Real Betis and Sevilla have left them needing a slip-up from Atletico to tilt the title race in their favour.

They have won 10 of their last 15 away games against Athletic but Los Leones coach Marcelino has won his last two meetings against Madrid.

"We have to watch and do what we can control, which is our game," said Zidane. "In the rest we don't know what will happen.

"The important thing is to keep adding and we want to win the three points. We are going to be playing against a very good opponent, he is doing very well and we will try to give everything."

Lionel Messi has spent his entire career with Barcelona. 

That bond will not sway Barca's off-season plans, though.

The Spanish giants have reportedly turned their eyes to a younger option. 

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PREFER HAALAND TO MESSI STAY

Barcelona are so desperate to lure Erling Haaland to Camp Nou that they would be willing to let superstar captain Lionel Messi walk away if they can sign the Borussia Dortmund star, according to The Sun.

Barca's financial situation would make it difficult to pay both players, and the report claims Messi might see his wages cut in half if he stays with the LaLiga powerhouse amid links to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City

Numerous clubs are circling for Haaland, including City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea, PSG, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Juventus.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Raul is favourite to take over as Madrid head coach next season if Zinedine Zidane leaves. Madrid great Raul is chasing promotion with the club's Castilla side.

Barca are set to complete the double free transfers of City star Sergio Aguero and Lyon captain Memphis Depay, according to Sport.

Arsenal and Martin Odegaard have a mutual interest in extending the Norway international's loan stay at the Premier League, according to Football London. He has two goals in 18 appearances in all competitions since arriving on loan from Madrid.

- Diario AS reports PSG are set to swoop in for Sergio Ramos by offering the Madrid captain and soon-to-be free agent a two-year contract. Ramos has also been linked to United.

- Though Juventus may be facing an exodus if they miss out on Champions League football next season, the Bianconeri are interested in Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, says Calciomercato. 

United may shore up their midfield with a bid for Getafe's Mauro Arambarri, Diario AS reports. The 25-year-old is under contract through 2023. The Mirror, meanwhile, says United remain keen on Atletico Madrid star Marcos Llorente.

Atletico are interested in Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, claims the Daily Star. Keita has struggled for form and fitness since moving to Anfield from RB Leipzig in 2018.

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has been placed in isolation after being in contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus.

All tests conducted on Kroos up until this point have come back negative but he is now at home as per COVID-19 protocols.

Madrid are playing away against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday in their penultimate LaLiga game of the season.

They are locked in a thrilling title race with Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, as their city rivals lead the standings by two points with only two matches to go.

"Real Madrid reports that our player Toni Kroos is currently in isolation after being in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, although all tests carried out on the player have come back negative," read a statement from the club on Friday.

It will be hoped that Kroos' situation does not evolve as Federico Valverde's did last month.

Valverde initially had to isolate due to being a close contact before producing a positive test five days later which then ruled him out of a key Champions League match with Chelsea.

Kroos has been a key figure for Madrid this season, featuring in 28 of their league matches.

After a gruelling schedule, he was rested by Zinedine Zidane last time out against Granada ahead of the testing trip to San Mames.

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane says his side will go until the final minute in the LaLiga title race after closing within two points of leaders Atletico Madrid on Thursday.

Madrid won 4-1 away to Granada to keep the pressure on the leaders with games to go, while moving ahead of third-placed Barcelona who are a further two points back after their 3-3 draw at Levante earlier in the week.

Atletico remain in the box seat to clinch their first LaLiga title since 2013-14, but Zidane's side remain in the hunt should there be any slip-ups.

"We'll keep going; there are two games left and we'll go to the end, until the final minute, we'll give it our all," Zidane said post-game.

Atletico's final two league games are at home to 11th-placed Osasuna and away to 18th-placed Valladolid, while Real go to ninth-placed Athletic Bilbao and host seventh-placed Villarreal on the final day.

Madrid are unbeaten in their last 16 games in LaLiga (W11 D5), the best current unbeaten run in the competition. In addition, Los Blancos have equalled their best unbeaten run in a single league campaign under Zidane, achieved in 2016-17 (P16 W12 D4).

Zidane was delighted with the win at Granada which loomed as a tricky assignment in the run home.

"It's not just about the goals," the Frenchman said. "We played very well, defensively too.

"We started the game very well, it was a complete performance. I say that because at 2-1 we didn't let our intensity drop, we scored again quickly and that shows our character.

"Thibaut [Courtois] made two or three saves, as he has been doing lately, but it's all good. In general terms it was a good win against a decent side at a tough place to come, because Granada are a side who have had a fantastic year."

Marvin was substituted at half-time after a hamstring issue, while Marcelo did not play due to a minor injury concern as Zidane fielded his youngest starting XI all season.

"Marvin picked up a knock. I hope it's nothing serious but yes, he felt something in his hamstring," Zidane said.

"Marcelo didn't play because of an injury and we didn't want to take any risks, as always. The injury is the reason why he didn't come with us."

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