Champions League exclusion talk is 'absurd', insists Zidane

By Sports Desk April 26, 2021

Zinedine Zidane says the idea of Real Madrid being banned from the Champions League for their part in the attempted European Super League breakaway is "absurd".

Madrid were among the 12 founding clubs of the competition that was announced earlier this month, with club president Florentino Perez installed as the Super League's chairman.

But last week, within 48 hours of the plans being confirmed, the six English clubs involved all withdrew, and they were soon followed by Atletico Madrid, Inter and Milan. Juventus remain supportive of the Super League but did acknowledge the collapse of the initial proposal.

Madrid and Barcelona have been defiant since, however, adamant their plans still have merit and are not completely dead.

UEFA is threatening to punish all of the 12, but the English clubs withdrawing early could earn them some leniency, though Zidane is not worried about the idea of Madrid being barred from the Champions League next term.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's semi-final first leg with Chelsea, Zidane said: "You have already asked me about all this and I have already answered.

"It is absurd to think that we will not be in the Champions League. There is a lot of talk from outside. There is going to be a lot of talk, but we don't control it, I just focus on the game.

"But my opinion is that we all want to see Madrid in the Champions League."

It was also put to Zidane that UEFA's stance could potentially be reflected by the officials being harsh on Madrid against Chelsea.

"The referee is going to do his job and we are going to play football," he replied. "We just have to think about that.

"If we start to think that what is being said is going to harm us, we are screwed. We are going to compete from minute one to 90. The rest, we don't get involved in."

The Champions League fixture follows a tricky LaLiga title tussle for Madrid, whose 0-0 draw with Real Betis on Saturday seeing them miss out on going top of the table.

With leaders Atletico losing to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday and Sevilla beating Granada, just three points separate top from fourth in what is shaping up to be the most thrilling title race in years, but Zidane insists Madrid will not be giving one competition priority over the other.

"We are not going to choose. We are alive in both competitions," he added. "We have had a lot of difficulties this year, but we have always been able to lift ourselves.

"There is a month left and we are going to compete until the end. There is no other thought in my head.

"What we want to do is give everything on the field, without thinking that winning will not be possible."

Related items

  • Former Man Utd director Knighton in talks with 'three billionaires' ahead of potential takeover bid Former Man Utd director Knighton in talks with 'three billionaires' ahead of potential takeover bid

    Former Manchester United director Michael Knighton says he is in talks with several billionaires ahead of launching a potential takeover bid at Old Trafford.

    The 70-year-old revealed he has put together a consortium interested in buying the club, although he would operate in a consultancy role should a successful deal by struck.

    The club's current owners – the Glazer family – have come under increased scrutiny following the Red Devils' poor start to the Premier League season.

    Supporters have staged several protests against the Americans, who Knighton believes have turned Old Trafford from a "theatre of a dreams to a theatre of nightmares"

    And the former director, who had a bid to buy the club accepted in 1989 – although it never came to fruition – explained that he has had conversation with three potential partners to put forward a deal.

    "They are small-time billionaires that I have been speaking to for three to four months now," Knighton told ITV News.

    "When I was approached by some fan groups, oddly enough, saying 'look, our club is dying on its feet, would you please do something?'

    "I made a few phone calls, and I've been pulling this consortium together ever since.

    "The point is: someone had to make a stand."

    Knighton also revealed he has approached British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who recently tried to purchase fellow Premier League side Chelsea, to buy the club.

    He said: "If we can smoke the great Sir Jim out to buy Manchester United, my consortium will be punching the air because we've achieved what we want to do.

    "We will make the bid with our own consortium but, I'll tell you this, we do not have the resources available to do everything that is needed."

  • 'Media only speaks lies' – Cristiano Ronaldo teases revealing interview in coming weeks 'Media only speaks lies' – Cristiano Ronaldo teases revealing interview in coming weeks

    Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to indicate he has a revealing interview planned in the coming weeks that will confirm the "truth" about speculation around his future.

    Ronaldo, 37, for the first time in his career has seemingly found a lack of interest for his services as he reportedly tries to push his way out of Old Trafford.

    Some of the biggest clubs in the world – including Juventus, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid – have all supposedly turned down the opportunity to sign one of the greatest players the game has ever seen, but the Portuguese star believes most media reports focused on his future have been inaccurate.

    In response to a post by a Ronaldo fan page on Instagram, which was criticising the aforementioned speculation, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner added fuel to the fire as he teased a tell-all interview.

    His comment read: "They know the truth when [sic] interview in a few weeks. Media only speaks lies. I have a notebook and in the last few months of the 100 news that made only five [accurate] hits, imagine how things are."

    Ronaldo made his first start of the season in United's embarrassing 4-0 loss to Brentford.

  • Brighton sign Estupinan from Villarreal as Cucurella replacement on five-year deal Brighton sign Estupinan from Villarreal as Cucurella replacement on five-year deal

    Brighton and Hove Albion have completed the signing of defender Pervis Estupinan from LaLiga side Villarreal.

    The Ecuador international arrives for an undisclosed fee reported to be worth £14million (€16.7m) and has put pen to paper on a five-year deal at the Amex Stadium.

    The 24-year-old will add plenty of experience to the Seagulls' back line, having won the Europa League with Villarreal in 2021, while also featuring for Granada, Almeria, Real Mallorca and Osasuna in Spain.

    Signing a new left-back had been a priority following the sale of Marc Cucurella to Chelsea, and head coach Graham Potter is thrilled by the arrival of Estupinan, who racked up 74 appearances during his two-year spell at El Madrigal.

    "We're excited by what Pervis brings us, and he fills a position to which we've been looking to add depth," he told the club's official website.

    "In addition to his international experience, he has played for Villarreal in the Champions League and Europa League, as well as gaining plenty of experience in LaLiga.

    "We will help him to settle here in England, but we're looking forward to working with him and seeing him in action in the Premier League."

    Estupinan could make his Brighton debut when the Seagulls face West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.