Zidane 'sorry' for sacked Barca boss Valverde

By Sports Desk January 17, 2020

Zinedine Zidane has sympathy with sacked Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde but does not expect Real Madrid's Clasico rivals to be any less of a threat under Quique Setien.

Barca opted to part ways with Valverde after their Supercopa de Espana semi-final exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid, despite winning LaLiga in each of the former Athletic Bilbao coach's two full seasons at the helm.

This time around the Blaugrana are level on points at the summit with Madrid, who claimed Supercopa glory with a penalty shoot-out triumph against Atleti.

"I'm sorry for him, first of all. That's all I can really say," Madrid manager Zidane told a news conference.

"It's not a great situation but he's a coach who's always shown that he's very good. I've got a great deal of admiration for him

"Each club and each situation is different. Each coach knows what they’re doing and where they're at. They know what the situation is at a big club.

"If we lose two games I'm going to get criticised as well. That happened not too long ago. I know where I am and what the situation is.

"We can’t always play well and win, so it is difficult. But what we try to do is give 100 per cent. It's the same for the coach at Barcelona, we all try and do our best and then you people can go off and talk about whatever you want.

"Things are never going to change, but I'm sorry about Valverde losing his job."

Setien does not have a major honour to his name in his coaching career but there is excitement over how his all-action, high-pressing style will work at Camp Nou.

"I expect them to be the same as always. Barcelona will always compete with all the coaches they have. Nothing is going to change," Zidane said.

"They’re going to do their work and we're going to do ours. Things will always be the same. We’ll always have the same rivalry."

Madrid welcome Sevilla and Julen Lopetegui to the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, somewhat fittingly at a time when a high-profile sacking is dominating the news agenda.

Lopetegui did not last until November in the 2018-19 season after he succeeded Zidane at the end of the Frenchman's first spell as Los Blancos' boss.

"I don’t have to give any explanations about any of that," Zidane shot back when asked why he and Lopetegui had vastly different records with largely the same squad.

"You have to live every different situation, do what you do.

"He did what he wanted to do here. He's a good coach, he's always proven that – both before and after Real Madrid

"But I've got nothing to say about his period here at Real Madrid. What I can say is he's a good coach. He's proven that again this season."

Related items

  • I don't even know what I want – Ibrahimovic unsure about future I don't even know what I want – Ibrahimovic unsure about future

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic is unsure what his future holds amid reports he will leave AC Milan at the end of the season and possibly retire.

    Ibrahimovic, 38, returned to Milan in December and scored four goals in 10 appearances before the campaign was stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The former Barcelona, Inter and Manchester United star is reportedly considering his future, with his contract at Milan expiring at season's end.

    But Ibrahimovic said even he was unsure about what was ahead as he considers his options.

    "Let's see," he told Svenska Dagbladet on Wednesday.

    "I don't even know what I want. Something new happens every day. Who could have predicted this with corona? We just have to try to live and enjoy life.

    "Don't worry too much. I have a family to take care of, they feel good so I feel good."

    Italy has been hit hard by coronavirus, reporting more than 110,000 cases and 13,100 deaths.

    Ibrahimovic said the health of the community had to come first, with the Serie A season suspended indefinitely.

    "It started to spread to football. They shut down the whole training facility, we were not allowed to move outside," he said.

    "It is tragic that football leagues shut down, but we must respect the system and be patient. They must find a solution that is good for the whole community.

    "Health is above all sport. I'm not worried about corona. I think it will be solved, it's just to wait until the experts know what to do."

  • Coronavirus: Walker hopes Premier League season resumes, but says football must 'take a back step' Coronavirus: Walker hopes Premier League season resumes, but says football must 'take a back step'

    Manchester City defender Kyle Walker hopes the Premier League season can resume, but said "football has to take a back step for now".

    The campaign has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought sport to a standstill around the world.

    It remains unclear when, and if, the Premier League campaign will resume, but Walker is hoping the season can get back underway.

    "Football has to take a back step for now because that is the least important thing on everyone's mind in the football world," the right-back said.

    "The health of family members and other people's family members is the most important.

    "But, I hope, and I am sure everybody else hopes, that football will come back and we will be able to finish off the season, but if it is not a possibility, then everyone does understand that people's health is more important than a game of sport."

    Walker discussed how City – who were second to Liverpool in the Premier League when the season was stopped – were keeping up team spirit using group chats.

    But the 29-year-old revealed manager Pep Guardiola, who donated €1million to the coronavirus fight in Spain, was not in the players' chat.

    "Obviously Pep is not in the group chat! I dropped him a text message last night saying hope you are OK, and I hope the family is well and fair play for donating the amount of money that you have donated," Walker said.

    "That says a lot about him as a person. Put football aside, that has come from his heart and it is something that should definitely be recognised."

  • Coronavirus: Serie A clubs banned from team training until at least April 13 Coronavirus: Serie A clubs banned from team training until at least April 13

    Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte has banned Serie A clubs from returning to team training until at least April 13.

    The Serie A season was suspended indefinitely last month with Italy hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Napoli and Lazio were among the clubs to backtrack on plans to return to training last month and with Italy extending their nationwide lockdown until April 13, Conte ruled out any team sessions taking place.

    "Actual measures are extended until April 13. We know we are asking another effort, another sacrifice," he said on Wednesday.

    "We have to understand one thing – if we stop following the rules or reduce these measures, we will waste our efforts."

    Conte added: "The only news introduced is about athletes' training sessions … training sessions are not allowed in clubs' headquarters.

    "It doesn't mean athletes cannot train themselves, they can do it individually."

    More than 13,100 people have died from coronavirus in Italy, with the global death toll exceeding 46,000.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.