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."

Real Madrid kept alive their LaLiga title hopes with an emphatic 4-1 win over Granada at Nuevo Estadio de Los Carmenes on Thursday. 

The result moved Zinedine Zidane's side above Barcelona into second, two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with just two games remaining in the season.

Luka Modric got them on their way early on with his fourth league goal of the campaign – the first time he has achieved that since 2011-12 with Tottenham in the Premier League – before Rodrygo doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time.

Jorge Molina threatened to set up a dramatic finale with a goal 19 minutes from time, but Los Blancos comfortably sealed an 18th win in their last 19 games against Granada thanks to goals from Alvaro Odriozola and Karim Benzema.

Madrid started on the front foot and almost went ahead after 14 minutes, Benzema's header forcing a smart stop from Rui Silva. 

Zidane's men opened the scoring three minutes later, though, when Modric latched onto Miguel Gutierrez's sumptuous flicked ball over the top and rolled through Silva's legs from a tight angle. 

The visitors' dominance was rewarded again in first-half stoppage time when Rodrygo powered into the penalty area down the right-hand side and fired across Silva for his first LaLiga goal of a frustrating campaign.

Granada reduced the deficit inside the final 20 minutes, Molina stroking into an empty net after Thibaut Courtois had parried Luis Suarez's strike into his path. 

Substitute Odriozola settled any Madrid nerves, though, powering home after Eden Hazard's cross had fallen kindly to him in the 75th minute. 

Benzema added gloss to the scoreline a minute later, expertly  into an unguarded net from 35 yards after Silva's slapstick attempt to cut out Casemiro's long ball over the top.

Zinedine Zidane does not think 2020-21 will automatically be considered a "bad season" if Real Madrid fail to successfully defend their LaLiga title.

A 2-2 draw at home to Sevilla at the weekend left Madrid two points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid with three games to go, the stalemate meaning title success was no longer in their hands.

They go to Granada on Thursday having beaten the Nazaries in 17 of their 18 LaLiga meetings, that sole defeat coming in 2013 as a result of the only own goal Cristiano Ronaldo has ever scored in Europe's top five leagues.

Their run of 11 successive league wins over Granada is their best current winning streak over a single opponent in LaLiga.

If Atletico beat Real Sociedad on Wednesday, a shock defeat for Madrid will effectively end their title hopes as they will be five points behind with two games to go.

Zidane is not losing faith, though he does not think it can be deemed a poor campaign even if they do not win LaLiga.

"Everything can happen," he told reporters. "We can win it just like we can lose it.

"The most important thing is to give everything and how we act on the pitch. We've played good games and the season is long.

"I am not going to say that it is a bad season, because that's when you don't give everything on the pitch.

"2017 was a phenomenal season and we could have lost in the last game. The most important thing is what you can control, and then whatever happens will happen."

The focus after that Sevilla draw was on the officiating, as Zidane publicly criticised referee Juan Martinez Munuera for giving a penalty against Eder Militao for handball.

The infringement was brought to the referee's attention by a VAR review, his decision to bring play back subsequently robbing Madrid of a penalty of their own at the other end after Karim Benzema had been brought down by Yassine Bounou.

Zidane was not prepared to get into the discussion again, accepting things could get "messy" if he did.

"I'm not going to get into the polemics. Things should be clear to everyone," he said. "The VAR will always help to improve football but specific plays must be clarified.

"In the end, everyone does their job. I'm not going to talk about these things anymore. I trust football.

"We will do our job and the referee his. I'm not going to say something because it makes a mess. We are going to control our work."

Real Madrid star Luka Modric is not giving up on winning LaLiga following the defending champions' last-gasp draw at home to Sevilla.

The title is no longer in Madrid's hands after they were held to a 2-2 draw by rivals Sevilla in a gripping contest at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Sunday.

Toni Kroos' deflected strike off team-mate Eden Hazard deep into second-half stoppage time salvaged a point for Madrid, who are two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with three rounds remaining.

Modric, though, insisted Madrid must not lose faith after they crashed out of the Champions League semi-finals.

"We were hoping it would be in our hands, but now it's not going to be like that," Modric said post-match. "We have to focus on our game, not the others and try to win the three we've got left.

"All the teams are dropping points. We have to keep believing."

Ivan Rakitic had seemingly secured Sevilla a win that would have blown the title race wide open by scoring a late penalty, before Madrid equalised at the death.

Sevilla had taken the lead in the first half thanks to Fernando in the Spanish capital, where he opened the scoring in the 22nd minute.

Madrid improved in the second half and levelled through Marco Asensio but a remarkable twist left Los Blancos trailing 2-1 with just over 10 minutes to play.

Zinedine Zidane's Madrid had seemingly earned themselves a chance to go 2-1 up as Karim Benzema led a break and was brought down in the Sevilla box by Yassine Bounou.

But a VAR review overturned the decision because a handball offence by Eder Militao was spotted at the other end at the start of the move, and Rakitic converted the spot-kick that was subsequently awarded to Sevilla.

Modric added: "We've dropped two points, we did everything to win the game. We deserved to win, but we've come away with a point. We played quite well, especially in the second half and created a lot of chances, but we didn't convert them and at the end we were awarded a penalty that ended up being a penalty for the other side.

"I'm not sure if it was a handball or not, I didn't see it. It's unlucky, but we're still very much alive, there are three games left to play and we're going to give our all until the end.
 
"We found it difficult to get into the game in the first half, but were much better in the second half. We did everything we could to get the win.

"It's a shame, but we're still there. I'm physically strong as are the rest of the players. We're looking forward to playing our remaining games and trying to win all three of them."

Madrid have not lost in their last 15 LaLiga games (W10 D5), and they conceded again after keeping a clean sheet in the last four. Only on one previous occasion have they kept five consecutive clean sheets in the competition with Zidane as head coach (in July 2020).

Meanwhile, Madrid have conceded eight penalties in LaLiga this season, their joint-highest tally in a single campaign since at least 2003-04 (also eight in 2018-19).

Zinedine Zidane was left fuming by the decision to award Sevilla a penalty for handball against Eder Militao as Real Madrid were held to a 2-2 draw that means the title is no longer in their hands.

A gripping game at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Sunday came to life in the latter stages as a remarkable twist left Madrid trailing 2-1 with just over 10 minutes to go.

Madrid had seemingly earned themselves a glorious opportunity to go 2-1 up as Karim Benzema led a break and was brought down in the Sevilla box by Yassine Bounou.

But a VAR review overturned the decision because a handball offence by Militao was spotted at the other end at the start of the move, and Ivan Rakitic converted the spot-kick that was subsequently awarded to Sevilla.

While a Toni Kroos effort deep into stoppage time deflected off Eden Hazard to earn a share of the spoils and essentially end Sevilla's slim title hopes, it did Madrid little good as city rivals Atletico remain top with a two-point lead heading into the final three games.

Zidane was seemingly unconvinced by the merits of the penalty against Madrid, suggesting that if Militao – who was not facing the ball when it hit his hand – was guilty of an offence then Sevilla's Joan Jordan should have conceded a penalty earlier in a similar situation.

"I don't understand anything. If there is a Militao handball, there's a Sevilla handball as well," he said.

"I was not convinced by what he [the referee, Juan Martinez Munuera] told me. I never speak about a referee, but today I am angry.

"In the end it is what it is, we are not going to change anything. I'm happy with our game, we deserved more because the second half was spectacular.

"I'm not going to talk about that anymore. We've already talked about it. The referee has to explain the rules to me, but that's it. We're going to fight to the death, until the end."

Pressed on his interpretation of the handball law, Zidane added: "We can talk now… but it will not be clarified now and that is what bothers me.

"We have to think about the three remaining games. I am angry because we deserved the victory."

He was then seemingly encouraged to denounce VAR, though Zidane again pointed to what he felt was handball by Jordan.

"I trust football. What I'm saying is that I saw two hands and they whistled ours."

Zinedine Zidane appeared to commit to Real Madrid with his latest cryptic comments around his future ahead of a huge LaLiga clash with Sevilla.

Zidane is in his second stint as Madrid coach and attempting to defend their domestic title.

But speculation is never far away at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Zidane did not shy away from links to former club Juventus earlier in the season.

The Frenchman was asked again about his plans on Saturday, though, and replied: "I'm going to make it very easy for the club, because they have given me everything.

"But the theme is Sevilla, that's all. Sevilla and what's left of LaLiga."

Second-placed Madrid are facing fourth-placed Sevilla on Sunday after leaders Atletico Madrid take on Barcelona, the remaining top-four team, the previous day.

Zidane's side, two points back, could end the weekend top with just three games remaining and will back themselves against Sevilla.

Madrid have won the past four LaLiga meetings between the sides and are unbeaten in 11 at home to Sevilla, scoring 3.4 goals per game on average. It is their longest ever stretch of consecutive home league victories against the Andalusian outfit.

But Los Blancos must move on from a disappointing result in midweek when they exited the Champions League to Chelsea.

"We know what we're playing. That's four finals," Zidane said. "We have to forget about the Champions League now and focus on what we have left."

Madrid will again have to contend without captain Sergio Ramos, who has suffered a hamstring injury – his third setback of the season.

But Ramos had already missed three of Madrid's previous games against top-four opposition this term and they are unbeaten in all five such matches, winning four.

Zidane said of his team's injury crisis: "It's a concern, because there are so many. Our case is that of the team that has had the most. I'm worried, of course.

"It's a particular year, players never rest, coronavirus, the calendar... That's all there is.

"I hope that by next year they will change and be more normal, with a normal pre-season."

Zidane will be able to call on Eden Hazard, though, after the winger apologised having been pictured joking with his former Chelsea team-mates following this week's defeat.

Hazard has just three goals in 27 LaLiga appearances over the past two seasons and none since January. He has created only 26 chances for four assists and much more is expected from the €100million signing.

"Eden has apologised and done well. He didn't mean to hurt anyone, which is the most important thing," Zidane said. "There's no more, he's apologised, we've talked and nothing more to say.

"He's going to help us. So far you haven't seen the player inside him. I hope we can see that Hazard soon. He has a contract with Madrid."

Neymar's long-term commitment to Paris Saint-Germain has been in question at times. 

A return to Barcelona had been rumoured. 

Now the Brazil international is set to stay in the French capital.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR TO FINALISE PSG EXTENSION

Neymar is set to sign a new contract with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain this weekend, L'Equipe reports.

The four-year extension will be worth €30million (£26m) per season and run through 2026, nearly a decade after he arrived from Camp Nou for a record €220m fee. 

The signing would come days after a report that Barcelona approached PSG about Neymar, but the French club insisted he was not for sale. 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea are casting a wide net to bolster their attack, with Bild reporting Mohamed Salah is on Thomas Tuchel's shortlist along with Erling Haaland and Romelu Lukaku

- Zinedine Zidane may return to Juventus as head coach after Real Madrid's Champions League exit, Tuttosport reports, adding that the Real Madrid boss also is considering taking some time away from the sport. 

Georginio Wijnaldum's Liverpool deal expires in June and the midfielder could be on the way to Bayern Munich, Sport1 reports. 

- Memphis Depay remains a top target for Barcelona, but the Spanish giants could turn to Donyell Malen of PSV if they cannot land the Lyon star. 

- Marca claims Eden Hazard is on the way out at Real Madrid, with Los Blancos ready to listen to offers for the forward. 

- Jan Oblak could be moving to the Premier League this summer, with ESPN saying Manchester United are among the potential destinations for the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper. 

- Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard will sign for Leicester City, Teamtalk reported. The 23-year-old also has drawn inquiries from West Ham and Liverpool

- Aston Villa will offer £15million for Burnley's Dwight McNeil, Football Insider reported. McNeil is under contract through 2024. 

A gripping LaLiga title race should be all Real Madrid need to pick themselves up from their Champions League semi-final loss to Chelsea, according to Zinedine Zidane.

Madrid head coach Zidane conceded his team were beaten by the better side after goals from Timo Werner and Mason Mount gave Chelsea a 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge, sending them through 3-1 on aggregate to an all-English final against Manchester City at the end of this month.

Los Blancos looked a shadow of the side that won three consecutive European crowns under Zidane between 2016-2018, but the France great insisted he was proud of his players' endeavours on Wednesday.

Now they face up to a LaLiga battle, where they are level on points with Barcelona and two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with four games remaining. Barca and Atleti face one another this weekend.

"We have spoken on this many times this season. It has been a year with many injuries, ups and downs, and that’s what we have dealt this year," Zidane told a post-match news conference midweek.

"Despite it all, we have done good things in this Champions League in order to reach this stage.

"I think we deserved it and we were only one step from the final, but we have to congratulate this team [Chelsea], who has been better tonight.

"It doesn't change anything. I am very pleased and very proud and now it is the time to rest and be focused on the last four games in LaLiga."

Captain Sergio Ramos and Ferland Mendy were passed fit to start for Madrid and struggled to find top gear, although Zidane insisted he had no regrets over the selections.

"If my players have played it's because they were ready for the 90 minutes," he said.

"Ramos and Mendy were ready to play, that's why I put them on. It was a semi-final and they were ready."

Another man recently back to fitness, Eden Hazard, lasted 89 minutes but had minimal impact against his former club.

After the match, images of Hazard congratulating his old Chelsea team-mates played very badly in Madrid, but Zidane urged patience with the €100million forward.

"Eden needs to play regularly and get his confidence back," he added. "And you get that slowly and playing games.

"So, we need to get back Eden and it will be possible playing games."

Zinedine Zidane "got everything wrong" in Real Madrid's Champions League loss to Chelsea and could pay the price, Predrag Mijatovic has warned.

Madrid were beaten 2-0 by Chelsea in the second leg on Wednesday as Timo Werner and Mason Mount secured a 3-1 aggregate win in the semi-final.

It could have been a far more convincing scoreline had the Blues been more clinical at Stamford Bridge, while Madrid, who had 68 per cent of the ball, had only one shot on target after the 36th minute.

With Sergio Ramos back but the likes of Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez injured, Zidane opted for a 3-4-3 system in which his players rarely looked comfortable.

Edouard Mendy made two good saves from Karim Benzema in the first half but the Chelsea goalkeeper was largely a spectator as he kept an eighth clean sheet in the competition this season, a record for a goalkeeper at an English club.

Madrid could still end the season by defending their league title – they trail leaders Atletico Madrid by just two points with four games left – but former Madrid striker Mijatovic fears the loss to Chelsea may inflict lasting damage.

"Chelsea were really superior in everything: intensity, rhythm, creating chances. We like Zidane and he's done many things, but he got everything wrong," he told Cadena Ser.

"This tie will do a lot of damage to Zidane. So did the previous year, although the league covered some things. Zidane has got a lot of things wrong and that resulted in Madrid's elimination.

"When they started the game and you saw they didn't want to change the picture, with poor Vinicius playing in a position that isn't his, Madrid did practically nothing.

"The team went out totally confused, without knowing what to do. We'll see what happens in LaLiga. The feelings you get from Madrid offer little to think the season will end well."

Former Madrid goalkeeper Santiago Canizares praised Mendy for his decisive saves from Benzema, which ensured Chelsea took a 1-0 lead into half-time.

"Chelsea are not just physical. They have really good tactics and a great attacking and defensive balance. They're a very tough nut to crack," he said.

"We didn't see phases of superiority from Madrid. The two chances Madrid had where from Benzema, but Mendy won the game."

Zidane guided Madrid to three consecutive Champions League triumphs from 2016 to 2018, but they lost at the last-16 stage in the previous two seasons before succumbing to Chelsea this time.

Midfielder Casemiro, who feels Madrid have been left with little in the tank after a challenging year with injuries, felt their defeat proved just what a remarkable run it was to win the tournament three years running.

"We were better in the first 25 minutes, we had two chances with Karim," he said. "Then they played better, they had more chances, but there's no turning back now, we have to think about LaLiga.

"I think Chelsea were superior and played better than us. After the year we've had with injuries, absences, COVID, without fans... we've tried. But they were better. We can't be sad now, we have to think about Sevilla [on Saturday].

"We showed that what we did was historic. It's not easy to win the Champions League. We showed again that it's not easy to win this."

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos expects head coach Zinedine Zidane to remain at the helm beyond this season.

After winning LaLiga last season, Madrid are firmly in contention for more silverware this term although nothing is guaranteed at this stage.

Madrid are two points behind leaders and neighbours Atletico Madrid with four games remaining in LaLiga, while Los Blancos are competing in Champions League semi-finals.

Speaking ahead of Madrid's Champions League semi-final second leg away to Chelsea, after the opening fixture finished 1-1, Kroos was asked about Zidane.

"I think he'll be our coach next season," Kroos said with a laugh during his news conference. "He has a contract."

Kroos was bullish about Madrid's chances against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, despite not getting the favourable result in the first leg.

"We are strong defensively and that's important when it comes to getting through a tie like this one and against opponents like Chelsea," the German said.

"We want to create more chances than the first leg. We are capable of progressing and we are going to prepare properly the game, but we have to create a bit more than we did in the first leg."

Former Chelsea star Eden Hazard is available for Madrid and he looms large despite failing to make a major impact in the Spanish capital this season.

"We know what a good player he can be, Eden," Kroos said. "A shame that he hasn't been available in the last few months because of injuries.

"However, he's now doing better, which is so important for him for being at his best. He's a player who has a lot to help us.

"I don't know exactly how he is doing as he's only started one game but he's always a threat to opposition defences. It doesn't matter how much he'll play, it doesn't depend on me, I just hope he can help us."

Zinedine Zidane has been left in awe of his Real Madrid team for their persistence this season despite an often-lengthy injury list, though he insists it is no "miracle" to be in the Champions League semi-finals.

Madrid face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday having drawn 1-1 at home to the Blues last week, meaning Thomas Tuchel's men have a slender advantage secured by their away goal.

The omens are not great for Madrid, as they have never beaten Chelsea in four previous meetings and not won on any of their past four trips to England.

On top of that, Tuchel has only suffered four home defeats out of a possible 18 in the Champions League and seen his teams average 2.7 goals per game in those matches.

But Madrid showed character to salvage a draw in the first leg with Karim Benzema levelling Christian Pulisic's opener, and Zidane believes the fact they have got this far despite operating with a depleted squad for much of 2021 is testament to the team's excellent mentality.

"You have to take your hat off to this team," he told reporters on Tuesday. "Every time there are difficulties, they respond. They are the best. We are where we want to be and it is deserved.

"The team has character, first of all, and when things get complicated, they are there."

However, when it was put to Zidane that Madrid's progress this far into the competition was akin to a "miracle", the Frenchman did not want to get carried away.

"It's not a miracle to be here, not at all, on the contrary," he said. "We are here for our work and because we believe in what we do.

"We're here because of our work, nothing else. In football, there are no miracles."

Madrid have recovered several key players for the trip to London, with Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Federico Valverde and Ferland Mendy all able to travel.

While the loss of Raphael Varane to an abductor injury was a blow, the return of captain Ramos – out since March – will add leadership and experience to the side.

"I'm not going to risk anything," Zidane said of Ramos' inclusion. "If he's with us, he's ready to play.

"He's with us, that means it's okay. It's the most important thing, to have our leader."

Eden Hazard appeared against his former club off the bench last week and Zidane is backing the Belgian to have an impact at Stamford Bridge.

"It's a very good moment for him and I think he comes prepared," Zidane added. "We are going to need him and he'll help, for sure."

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