Zidane would relish chance to work with Mbappe

By Sports Desk March 15, 2019

Zinedine Zidane has fuelled the speculation linking Real Madrid with Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe by saying he would love the opportunity to work with his fellow Frenchman.

Zidane returned to the Santiago Bernabeu earlier this week just 10 months after leaving the post having won a third successive Champions League title with Los Blancos.

During the manager's introductory news conference on Monday, Madrid president Florentino Perez joked that he hoped Zidane's nationality could play a factor in luring Mbappe away from PSG.

The 20-year-old has already stated his desire to remain in the French capital next season, yet Zidane spoke glowingly about Mbappe at his pre-match news conference on Friday.

Asked whether he would want to coach such a talent, Zidane told reporters: "Of course. I'd be happy to train all the good players.

"It's not the time though to speak about that."

Mbappe's team-mate Neymar is also thought to be of interest to Madrid, and while Zidane would not be drawn on transfer plans, he did reference the two PSG players' elite ability.

"I am not going to talk about someone who is not a Real Madrid player," he said.

"We are playing this season. I can't talk about other players so what I can say is the two players you talked about - Neymar and Mbappe - we know the quality they have.

"We know what they are like, but having said that the only thing in my head is the game tomorrow and nothing else."

Madrid, who are 12 points behind LaLiga leaders Barcelona with 11 games remaining, face Celta Vigo at home on Saturday.

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  • The Bale Sales: Gareth's options as Zidane shows Real Madrid forward the door The Bale Sales: Gareth's options as Zidane shows Real Madrid forward the door

    Gareth Bale's days at Real Madrid appear to be numbered after head coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed the club are working on a transfer for the forward.

    Zidane was billed a "disgrace" by Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett, who has previously confirmed the coach and player have a fraught relationship, with the Frenchman seemingly not valuing Bale's ability despite his contribution to three consecutive Champions League titles.

    It was Bale's double that sealed Madrid's last European crown a year ago, a stunning overhead kick contributing to a 3-1 defeat of Liverpool in Kiev that proved Zidane's last match in charge - soon after he announced his shock resignation.

    But Zidane is back and seemingly set on selling Bale, so what are the options available to the Wales international now the Madrid coach has clearly signalled he has no place for him?

     

    TOTTENHAM

    The romantic option, a return to Tottenham would enable Bale to play first-team football and slot back into a club where he became a global superstar. Finances would surely scupper a permanent move although Spurs have smashed their club record to buy Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and are reportedly considering doing so again to sign Giovani Lo Celso from Real Betis. An initial loan has been mooted but Madrid would still likely have to cover a large portion of Bale's massive wages - how desperate are they to move him on? Bale would certainly improve Mauricio Pochettino's forward options and a front three of Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Bale looks incredibly strong on paper.


    MANCHESTER UNITED

    Bale has long been linked with United, but their failure to qualify for the Champions League does not make them an attractive option for top-level players right now although they remain among the world's biggest clubs. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also indicated he is willing to put his faith in young players such as the talented teenager Mason Greenwood, who has impressed in pre-season to force his way into first-team contention at Old Trafford despite being just 17. Bale would be an upgrade on United's wing options but they seem to be going in a different direction with the arrivals of Dan James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka signalling a long-needed change in transfer policy. Madrid's reported interest in Paul Pogba could see Bale offered to United as part of a potential deal, though.


    PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

    If PSG lose Neymar - the club confirmed recently he wants to leave - they will have room for another elite talent and Bale might just fit the bill. Whether moving to what is essentially a one-team league due to PSG's financial firepower is attractive to the Welshman is unclear, but teaming up with a thrilling talent like Kylian Mbappe could be persuasive. PSG are also one of a very small number of teams who could pay Bale the wages he has become accustomed to earning in Madrid and he has plenty of experience of winning the Champions League, which remains PSG's goal.


    CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE

    According to the bookmakers, Bale's most likely next destination is the Chinese Super League. Finances are again the key here, although CSL clubs have shown a reduced willingness over the last 12 months to pursue the most expensive players on the market due to a change in the league's regulations, which means they must pay considerable taxes on top of large transfer fees. Bale has been unable - or perhaps unwilling - to learn Spanish while in Madrid so it would be interesting to see how he would fare with the culture clash in China.


    STAY AT REAL MADRID

    Reports in Spain previously claimed Bale is happy to see out his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, which still has three years to run. It would be a tempting option given no other clubs are likely to match his pay packet, while the lack of stability in the dugout could play in his favour. Zidane was Madrid's third permanent head coach last term and failed to inspire any significant improvement in the latter weeks of the 2018-19 campaign. Although the Frenchman has considerable credit from his trio of consecutive Champions League titles, it is not impossible to see Madrid starting the season poorly and president Florentino Perez opting for yet another change of head coach. Another man in charge could see Bale as an asset so the 30-year-old may choose to stay put for now.

  • Rodrygo ready for central role after scoring on Real Madrid debut Rodrygo ready for central role after scoring on Real Madrid debut

    Zinedine Zidane intends to use Rodrgyo Goes in a central position at Real Madrid, the teenager revealed after marking his debut for the club with a goal on Sunday.

    Rodrygo was one of four Madrid debutants in the International Champions Cup defeat to Bayern Munich, along with Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy, and he scored a superb late free-kick as Zidane's men went down 3-1 in Houston.

    After the game, the former Santos forward was quoted by Marca as saying: "Zidane [Madrid's head coach] wants me to play more down the middle.

    "I am typically more used to operating on the wings, but that is what the coach wants. It's a position in which I am comfortable and enjoy."

    Still only 18, Rodrygo is unsure whether he will see regular action in his first season in Spain.

    "I am not sure whether I will be playing in the first team yet. It is up to Zidane and his staff to decide where best to utilise me," he added.

    Discussing his superb debut goal, Rodrygo said: "I always used to take free-kicks at Santos. That is why I asked to take it."

  • Filipe Luis confirms Atletico exit amid Flamengo interest Filipe Luis confirms Atletico exit amid Flamengo interest

    Filipe Luis has confirmed his departure from Atletico Madrid after eight seasons with the LaLiga club.

    The Brazil international delayed a decision on his club future until after the Copa America and both parties have now agreed not to extend his contract, which expired at the end of June.

    Atleti have overhauled their squad since the end of last season and though he had been open to the prospect of another campaign under Diego Simeone, Filipe Luis agreed the time has come for a change.

    "We had a conversation and decided this is best for the club and for me," Filipe Luis said at his farewell announcement on Sunday.

    "The relationship is great, the doors are open. We waited for the right moment to announce it. We both have a clear conscience.

    "I made myself available for whatever was needed. We decided that it was best to go our separate paths."

    The left-back praised his successor and compatriot, Renan Lodi, as the best Brazil had to offer in his position.

    After more than a decade in Europe, which included a season at Chelsea in between his two stints with Atleti, Filipe Luis now appears set to return to his homeland.

    Flamengo are reportedly in pole position to secure the 33-year-old's signature.

    "I have not signed any contract," he said. "I will make the decision in the next few days.

    "I have been a Flamenguista since I was young. Leaving Atletico is not an easy decision to make, but I want to end my career in Brazil

    "Some things are missing. We are conversing. You always have to listen to Flamengo."

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