Zinedine Zidane said he is concerned by Real Madrid's lack of consistency following their shock defeat to Deportivo Alaves.

LaLiga champions Madrid were stunned 2-1 by visiting Alaves at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium on Saturday.

Lucas Perez's fifth-minute penalty and Joselu's goal four minutes into the second half put Alaves in control before Casemiro reduced the deficit with four minutes of regulation remaining.

Madrid had beaten Inter 2-0 in the Champions League during the week but were unable to back up that result as Los Blancos lost for the third time in their last six LaLiga matches – as many defeats as they had in their previous 42 fixtures in the competition.

It was only the second time Alaves won away to Madrid in LaLiga, having previously upstaged the Spanish and European powerhouse at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2000.

"I think that's the problem we are having at the moment. Consistency," head coach Zidane, who saw star attacker Eden Hazard hobble off in the Spanish capital, told reporters. "That's why we have to try and improve.

"We've had a lot of injuries. We're not going to try to find excuses but that's the reality.

"Hopefully we can get players back for our next game and hopefully we can improve the dynamic in the squad overall because we have to change it. In three days we've played two completely different games.

"The difference between the Inter game and today is enormous. I don't really have the words to describe what’s happened but I know we're going to analyse the game today and think about changing things for our next game."

Madrid, who have conceded at least one penalty goal in three successive LaLiga games for the first time in the 21st century, are fourth and six points off the pace as Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid both boast 23 points.

Zinedine Zidane admitted Real Madrid produced an unacceptable performance as the reigning LaLiga champions slumped to another dismal defeat.

Cadiz, Shakhtar Donetsk and Valencia had already beaten Madrid this season, which is in its infancy, and Deportivo Alaves added their name to the list of surprise conquerors across all competitions thanks to a richly deserved 2-1 win on Saturday.

There were grumbles from the Madrid camp about decisions the VAR may have given them, with penalty claims from Eden Hazard and Marcelo failing to result in spot-kicks.

But Madrid head coach Zidane was clear in his mind that his team got what they deserved from the clash at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium, where the Spanish giants lost for the third time in LaLiga this term.

The losses to Cadiz and Shakhtar also came at Madrid's temporary home, which they are using while the Santiago Bernabeu is being renovated.

They were pushovers for much of Saturday's game, with Lucas Perez and Joselu giving Alaves a 2-0 lead before a familiar late Madrid rally saw Casemiro net from close range and Isco hit the top of the bar.

Conceding the early penalty that Perez tucked away made Madrid's task especially challenging, but they repeatedly looked vulnerable to Alaves' energetic, fast-paced counter-attacks.

"When you start the game like that, everything is complicated. We haven't been focused," Zidane said, speaking on Movistar LaLiga.

"We are not going to look for excuses. We played a bad game. I am the coach and I am to blame.

"We have to turn the page. On Tuesday we have another game [against Shakhtar]. We will continue working. We are going to try to change the dynamics."

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois gave away the ball sloppily to gift Joselu the second for Alaves early in the second half, while Los Blancos suffered a blow when star winger Hazard had to come off just before the half-hour mark.

The former Chelsea player has been tormented by injuries in his Madrid career, but it appears that Hazard does not see his latest blow as anything serious.

"I hope and I think that Hazard's [injury] is a knock like he said and that it's not muscular," Zidane said.

Madrid sit fourth in the table, six points behind Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad, with their one consolation being that rivals Barcelona have started the season even more wretchedly.

Three defeats in their last five home games across all competitions is bleak form for Madrid, given they had only lost three of their previous 31 such games.

Casemiro said Alaves finished their chances better and praised the quality of Perez and Joselu, who were outstanding as a front pairing and went close several times to stretching the visitors' lead.

The Brazilian midfielder felt Madrid should have been better served by the match officials though, saying, according to AS: "Talking about the referee after the game is not the time, the VAR is there to help."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is adamant his team's inconsistency is not down to an attitude problem in the squad.

Defending LaLiga champions Madrid have been wildly erratic in 2020-21, producing some under-par performances despite also celebrating some commendable wins such as the 3-1 Clasico victory and Wednesday's Champions League triumph at Inter.

Among their more disappointing results have been home defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk, plus the 4-1 thrashing by Valencia prior to the international break.

They head into Saturday's clash with Deportivo Alaves on the back of a 1-1 draw at Villarreal in their previous league outing, meaning another failure to win will see them drop points in three successive LaLiga games.

Madrid have already conceded 10 goals from their first nine matches, the joint-most at this stage in 12 seasons, but Zidane is refusing to put it down to the team's collective mentality.

"It is not an attitude problem because we always want to give everything," he told reporters.

"You asked me so I have to answer, but this is football, there are a lot of factors at play in a game and sometimes you can't understand it.

"The only thing we know is that, if we do things together, we are very difficult to beat but being consistent in football is the most difficult thing to achieve and we try to work on it every day, concentrating and working on all that we can.

"We have little time to prepare, but in the end that's what we want, to do well."

It has been suggested that Madrid are nearing the end of an era, with many players approaching the end of their careers – Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema are already well into their 30s.

But Zidane dismissed this notion and made no pledge to bring in reinforcements in January.

"No, it's not the end of an era here. You always have to fight, be concentrated – we never stop in that sense," he added.

"There will always be changes in a squad from time to time, but the players want to compete and now we have this squad. Until when, I don't know, but we have to do it until the end of the season with the squad I have, and we don't have to change anything."

Zidane also confirmed Dani Carvajal is set for another period on the sidelines due to an adductor injury, while Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos remain absent for the time being.

"Dani has something and we are going to do the examination now. It seemed like nothing but now it does – we'll examine him but I don't know how long he'll be out, I'm not a doctor. He has a niggle, that much is true," Zidane said.

"Karim's injury was bigger than it seemed – we have a lot of games, training, at the end a player has to be physically alright to play.

"Sergio the same – we won't rush him. The feeling with him is good, so we'll see when he returns to the team, but for the moment he is out."

Inter head coach Antonio Conte described Diego Maradona as "the poetry of football" following the Argentina and Napoli great's death on Wednesday.

Maradona – arguably football's greatest ever player – died at the age of 60 after a suspected heart attack, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) confirmed midweek.

World Cup winner Maradona was discharged from hospital a fortnight ago following brain surgery, having undergone a routine operation for a subdural haematoma after being admitted to hospital due to concerns over anaemia and dehydration.

Conte came up against Maradona during his time with boyhood club Lecce in Serie A, and he lauded the former Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata head coach following Wednesday's 2-0 Champions League loss to Real Madrid.

"We are all shedding tears for the loss of a man who wrote football history and will always be an indelible figure in this sport," Conte told Sky Sport Italia.

"He was the poetry of football. I had the pleasure of playing against him, of marking him, and it still doesn't seem real that he's gone, especially as he was still young. It's very sad."

Madrid boss Zidane also spoke glowingly of Maradona after the LaLiga champions won at San Siro for the first time in their history.

Former France international Zidane – also a World Cup winner – added: "It's an enormous loss for the world of football.

"I have him engrained in my head because of what he did at the 1986 World Cup. I was 14 years old... I have no words. We're all very sad."

Maradona, the captain and inspiration behind Argentina's World Cup success in 1986 before going on to coach his country at the 2010 showpiece, had been hospitalised just days after turning 60.

He appeared in a fragile state when he briefly made an appearance as his Gimnasia side played a match on the evening of his birthday last month.

Maradona won 91 caps for Argentina between 1977 and 1994, scoring 34 goals at international level.

He started his career with Argentinos Juniors before joining Boca Juniors and went on to play for Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell's Old Boys before returning to Boca in 1995.

Maradona had the best years of his club career in Italy, playing a massive part in Napoli winning the Serie A title in the 1986-87 and 1989-90 seasons.

Playmaker Maradona also lifted the UEFA Cup with Napoli in 1989 and he won three trophies during his time at Barca – including the Copa del Rey in 1983.

Maradona also had stints in charge of Textil Mandiyu, Racing Club, Al-Wasl, Fujairah and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico before being appointed by Gimnasia last year.

Zinedine Zidane says Lucas Vazquez "has Real Madrid in his heart" and deserves to be offered a new contract by the club.

The Spain international has started seven games for Madrid this season but is due to be out of contract at the end of the campaign.

He played the full 90 minutes of Wednesday's 2-0 win over Inter in the Champions League and impressed with his direct attacking display.

As well as setting up substitute Rodrygo for his side's second goal, which deflected off Achraf Hakimi, adding to Eden Hazard's early penalty, Vazquez also had more shots (four) than any player on the field.

Vazquez has showed his versatility by also featuring at right-back at times and Zidane wants the 29-year-old academy product to be rewarded with fresh terms.

"He always gives everything for us. I have always valued him and what he gives to us on the pitch," Zidane told Movistar+.

"Now he is having the opportunity to show us what he is all about. He was a youth player for us and has Madrid in his heart. I'm happy for him and the team.

"He is an important player and the club knows it. I think it will happen that he will renew."

Hazard's seventh-minute penalty was his first Champions League goal since November 2017 on his fourth start of another disrupted campaign.

He got 78 minutes under his belt, having also started the 1-1 draw with Villarreal last weekend, and Zidane hopes the Belgium forward can soon find his rhythm.

"I'm happy because he's playing. He needs to play and get his football back. For the good of the team, let him keep growing, because we need him."

Madrid's two goals came either side of Arturo Vidal being issued quick-fire yellow cards for dissent 33 minutes into the game after being denied a penalty.

The victory for Zidane's men was their first ever away at Inter in European competition and put them a point behind Group B leaders Borussia Monchengladbach, with Shakhtar Donetsk and Inter three and five points worse off than Madrid respectively.

"We played a great game from the beginning to the end," Zidane said. "We played serious and with character. They were three very important points and we got the best of us.

"I'm happy with the players. When they have to turn it on, they turn it on."

Marcelo Bielsa has been nominated for The Best FIFA Men's Coach, but Pep Guardiola will not contest the award this year.

Bielsa guided Leeds United back to the Premier League last season after 16 years outside the top flight.

The former Argentina coach has since overseen a solid start to the new campaign in the Premier League, securing draws against Manchester City and Arsenal.

And Bielsa has been rewarded for his achievement with recognition from FIFA.

The 65-year-old made a five-man FIFA shortlist for the world's leading coach in 2020, joining Bayern Munich's Champions League winner Hansi Flick and Liverpool's Premier League champion Jurgen Klopp among the contenders.

Zinedine Zidane is also in the running after Real Madrid won LaLiga, while Sevilla's Europa League triumph sees Julen Lopetegui included.

But there is no room for City boss Guardiola, who came second to Klopp in 2019.

City failed to defend their Premier League title, finishing 18 points behind Liverpool, and they are already eight points off the pace - albeit with a game in hand - down in 13th place this season.

Guardiola's wait for a first Champions League triumph away from Barcelona also went on as they were stunned by Lyon in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, Luis Suarez and Son Heung-min are among the frontrunners for the latest FIFA Puskas Award.

Atletico Madrid forward Suarez netted an exquisite backheel for former club Barcelona at the end of a team move against Real Mallorca, while Tottenham's Son tore through the Burnley defence for an individual effort.

The winners of all prizes - including The Best FIFA Men's Player, for which Robert Lewandowski is the favourite - will be revealed at The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony on December 17.

Luka Modric is eager to stay at Real Madrid beyond the expiry of his current contract and see out the rest of his career at Real Madrid despite seemingly losing his 'untouchable' status under Zinedine Zidane, whom he has defended from criticism.

The 35-year-old Croatian will be able to discuss a free transfer away from the Santiago Bernabeu from January 1, with his deal set to run out in June.

Modric recently dismissed the idea of returning to Tottenham – whom he left for Madrid in 2012 – at the end of the season, while the Spanish giants have reportedly delayed talks over a new deal until next year.

The former Ballon d'Or winner remains an important player for Madrid, though he has perhaps lost a little regularity – last season he only started 22 LaLiga games, while he has been in the starting line-up just once in three Champions League matches this term.

Modric accepts he cannot be completely sure about his future, though he seems in little doubt regarding his desire.

When asked about the matches he has not started, Modric told reporters: "I feel good. These games you mention I didn't play in, it's the coach's decision. When I come on, I hope to help the team and do a good job."

Regarding his future, he added: "I feel good, I feel strong, and I still have plenty of football in my legs and strengths to continue, but let's see what happens in the future.

"A lot of people are talking and ask about my situation but let's see what happens. I'm calm. I just want to help the team like always.

"I've said many times and I'll say it again, I'm very happy at Madrid and I'd love to end my career here, but let's see what happens.

"Maybe you thought my answer was a bit cold because I've been asked many times and I've said the same answer many times. I feel good and I want to stay at Madrid for as long as I feel I can help the team.

"Who wouldn't want to end their career at Real Madrid? But it depends on a lot of things. But there is no-one who'd be happier than me to continue at Real Madrid."

Zidane's future – as it has been for much of his time back at the club – is also a little shrouded, with the Frenchman receiving criticism for Madrid's performances this season.

Los Blancos are fourth in LaLiga after nine matches, six points behind leaders Real Sociedad with a game in hand, and are third in Champions League Group B.

Nevertheless, Modric insists the coach has the team's backing ahead of Wednesday's trip to Inter, who are propping up the table.

"It's not just recently we've defended the coach - we've always defended him since he came to Real Madrid," he said.

"Every time they ask us about him, the criticism he receives, of course we're with him. We've never doubted him. We've won many things together and we hope this continues in the future.

"It's normal we defend our coach; it's always been like that. We've won many things with him and I hope we continue to win things."

Zinedine Zidane insists Real Madrid will go to Inter to win despite injuries and a run of three victories in eight games placing the Spanish champions under scrutiny.

Madrid are third in Champions League Group B, a point above the Nerazzurri, after winning the reverse fixture 3-2.

A second group win of the season would put them in a strong position to progress, but they head to San Siro without captain Sergio Ramos, midfielder Federico Valverde or striker Karim Benzema.

Madrid are also coming off the back of a 4-1 loss to Valencia and a 1-1 draw at Villarreal in their previous two LaLiga matches, while they have only won twice in their past seven games in Europe.

Yet Zidane is not prepared to set his side out simply to avoid defeat despite the precarious nature of both the group and his squad of available players.

"No, we always go out to win, we always want to win," he said. "We can't think about drawing or losing. All I'm telling you is the most important thing is to give everything on the pitch. We always go out onto the pitch to win.

"Football is physical and mental and the mental part is just as important. My analysis is: this is football. There are moments you are very strong and you can bounce back and there are more difficult moments, like the general situation is now in this world we live in. It's correct we're going through a lower period.

"It was a difficult game but it's not just Real Madrid. I think every team has had difficulties in this season.

"The team started and ended the game well [against Inter] but it was difficult because we're playing very good teams. Against Villarreal, the same happened.

"Winning the game until the 74th, 75th minute, but in one play, which can happen, they scored a goal. I'm not a fatalist; I just think this is part of football. We try to work and get better, which is key. We try not to concede and to score goals ourselves."

The loss of Ramos is a particular concern as Madrid have suffered seven defeats in the past eight Champions League matches the centre-back has missed.

"We know how important he is as a player, but we have to break this statistic," Zidane said. "Obviously, we'd like him to be here, but he's injured.

"We're going to try to change that bad record because it's a final, it's three points, we know the situation in the group and we'll have to suffer, fight hard, but we're ready for it."

Isco is part of the squad despite his agent suggesting the midfielder wants a move in January, but Zidane was not prepared to discuss the topic.

"I'm not going to talk about rumours. Right now, he is our player and we're happy with him," he said.

Zinedine Zidane saw cause for optimism in Real Madrid's draw at Villarreal on Saturday and had little interest in entertaining his critics.

Madrid returned to LaLiga action following the international break without key men Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema.

Looking to respond to a 4-1 defeat at Valencia last time out, the champions looked to have done enough to win as Mariano Diaz - starting for the first time in 18 months - netted after two minutes.

But Gerard Moreno's penalty after a Thibaut Courtois foul kept Madrid in fourth, three points behind early leaders Real Sociedad.

The goals were the only shots on target at either end, although Villarreal had 13 total attempts to Madrid's six. Zidane still felt his team deserved the points.

"I think we deserved more, considering what we did," he said. "Especially in the first half. We've dropped two points.

"I'm upset for the players because of the effort they gave. I felt we could have taken the three points today and that's a shame."

Zidane had acknowledged prior to the match that there was pressure at Madrid, but he defended his hopeful outlook despite another tough result.

"I keep looking forward," he said. "You continue with what you are doing and I with my work."

Other questions focused on three of his players: Mariano, who starred in Benzema's place, Eden Hazard, returning after contracting coronavirus, and Isco, appearing only as a 65th-minute substitute.

Mariano played 85 minutes, more than he had across all league matches combined since the start of last season (54), and scored with his only shot while creating two chances for team-mates.

He won three of his eight duels but could not see out the match, Zidane explained.

"The thing about Mariano is that he hadn't played for a long time," the coach said. "He was exhausted."

Hazard's display was slightly less impressive, failing to attempt a shot or play a key pass in over an hour.

"He's there. He played," Zidane said. "We need to manage the minutes well, but he's with us and he's good."

Isco likewise had no say in proceedings in an attacking sense and has still made only three LaLiga starts this term as he is linked with a January departure.

"What is happening inside will stay inside," his coach said. "Right now, Isco is a Real Madrid player and is with us. There's nothing to talk about."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane insisted star defender Raphael Varane is non-transferable amid links with Manchester United.

United have been long-term admirers of Varane and the Premier League giants are reportedly preparing an offer for the 27-year-old France international.

But Zidane dismissed speculation over Varane's future at the Santiago Bernabeu, where the Frenchman has won three LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies among other honours since arriving in 2011.

"It's not just me [who wants to keep him]," Zidane told reporters ahead of Saturday's LaLiga clash against Villarreal. "He is part of this club, we were very lucky to be able to bring him to Madrid.

"He has a great career, he's achieved a lot since he's been here. Of course, he is untransferable for the club, for the coach that I am, for people in general.

"That's clear and unambiguous. Now we can't stop people from talking. They're not just talking about Varane, but about all the players, Real Madrid ones and others.

"But for Varane, my position is clear, and it's the same as the club's position."

Varane has made seven LaLiga appearances this term and 10 across all competitions for Spanish champions Madrid.

He has more clearances (27), headed clearances (13) and blocks (four) than superstar captain and team-mate Sergio Ramos in LaLiga this season, while Varane has an 80 per cent tackle success rate and 30 duels won in the top flight.

Madrid are fourth in the standings, four points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad with a game in hand following the international break.

After winning at Alfredo Di Stefano in July, Madrid could win two consecutive LaLiga games against Villarreal for the first time since September 2014.

Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane would all benefit from a quick decision on the club captain's future, according to his coach.

Madrid skipper Ramos is out of contract at the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season and has been linked to a host of rival clubs, including each of the Premier League's 'big six' along with Paris Saint-Germain.

But the 34-year-old remains a key man in Madrid, starting all eight of the champions' LaLiga games this season and scoring twice, while trailing only centre-back partner Raphael Varane for clearances (21), headed clearances (12) and blocks (two) in the top flight.

Zidane now wants to see a swift resolution to the contract situation.

"The situation with the club and Sergio, I hope it's sorted out quickly for the good of everyone - for me as a manager as well," he said ahead of Saturday's game against Villarreal.

Zidane added: "He's our leader, an important player, an important person. He's shown that and he's still showing that. He needs to stay here until he decides he wants to change."

The Frenchman will not be able to call on Ramos this weekend or against Inter in the Champions League in midweek, however, following a hamstring injury on international duty with Spain.

It was put to Zidane that Ramos' absence against Inter would be particularly keenly felt given Madrid's woes without their captain in prior big European games.

Since their most recent Champions League triumph in 2018, the 13-time winners have lost six of the seven games Ramos has missed in the competition, conceding 17 times. They have been beaten in just one of the 12 games he has featured in.

Zidane said: "Listen, he's our captain, we want him to be with us always, every game. For what he is, for what he shows, we know the importance of Sergio.

"When he's not here, we have to use the players who are here, who are working hard, and that's what we're going to do."

Madrid are facing a potential crisis at centre-back, with Varane and Eder Militao each far from certain to start against Villarreal following injuries.

Zidane said he was "worried" by the number of games his players are being asked to play, although he would not be drawn on Toni Kroos' comments on the matter, and acknowledged he would have liked to be able to rest Ramos previously but "it's difficult with the fixture schedule".

Four points off the top, Zidane cannot afford a slip-up with pressure mounting in the capital.

"That's not going to change," he said. "We just prepare to have our game tomorrow and do well and that's it.

"This is Real Madrid. We know the situation, we know all about it; every time we play we can't fail. It's always been like that. That's what this club is all about, but that's okay."

Sergio Ramos suffered an injury during the first half of the Nations League match between Spain and Germany in Seville. 

The Real Madrid captain hurt his hamstring after playing a long pass forward and was replaced by Eric Garcia 43 minutes in. 

Spain had already seen Sergio Canales go off with a similar complaint just 12 minutes into the contest. 

Despite the injury issues, Luis Enrique's side led 3-0 at half-time in the decisive Group A4 match through goals from Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres and Rodri. 

Any injury to Ramos would be a major concern for Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane ahead of a challenging run of fixtures

The champions return to LaLiga action at Villarreal on Saturday before they head to Inter for matchday four of the Champions League group stage. 

Madrid then face a further four games, including clashes with Shakhtar Donetsk, Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach, before the scheduled derby with Atletico Madrid on December 13. 

Ramos missed the reverse fixture against Shakhtar on October 21, a match Madrid lost 3-2 after falling 3-0 down in the first half at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

There was further bad news for Zidane in Paris too, as another of his centre-back options in Raphael Varane was withdrawn at half-time during France's meeting with Sweden.

Les Bleus boss Didier Deschamps told M6: "[Lucas] Hernandez and Varane have come off because they have small problems."

Toni Kroos is confident Zinedine Zidane will turn Real Madrid's form around – just as he has done in the past.

LaLiga champions Madrid have endured a difficult start to the new season, winning just six of their 11 games in all competitions.

There were shock back-to-back home defeats to Cadiz and Shakhtar Donetsk, while Los Blancos were thrashed 4-1 at Valencia prior to the international break.

Madrid have also landed big wins against rivals Barcelona and Inter, though, and midfielder Kroos acknowledges consistency is a big issue.

"It is true that we are missing something. It is not a secret. Everyone can see it," he told Marca. "We need to be consistent.

"If you see the results, there are two good, one bad, two good, one bad. We have to do better.

"You watch some games and you realise that it can be done better, [you watch] against Barcelona, ​​the first half against Inter.

"Clearly we can improve, but we lack continuity. If we did well against Barcelona, ​​we also have to play like this against Cadiz or Shakhtar at home.

"There is a lot of difference – sometimes very good and sometimes very bad. We must improve if we want to win something."

Zidane took responsibility for the Valencia reverse, the first time Madrid had conceded four goals in a league match since a 5-1 Clasico defeat in October 2018 that cost Julen Lopetegui his job.

The conversation around Zidane has not yet reached the same fever pitch, but Kroos knows the Frenchman will be aware of the need to deliver results.

"He knows that, at Real Madrid, if you don't have the results and you don't meet expectations, there are discussions," Kroos said. "That is why we are at this club. It is normal.

"With Zidane, we have already lived through times like this and we usually come out of bad spells. A few weeks ago, after losing to Cadiz and Shakhtar, we went to Barcelona and played a great game.

"We live like this and the coach is the first to know what happens at this club if you don't have results.

"In the end, what we have left is to improve and try to win games. The coach will find the solution."

Cristiano Ronaldo's name is still chanted at Old Trafford, 11 years on from his Manchester United exit.

The 35-year-old enjoyed great success in Manchester, while he has gone on to break records with Real Madrid and Juventus.

However, the Juventus superstar could reportedly be set for a second stint at the Theatre of Dreams.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE RONALDO RETURN

Manchester United are looking to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus, according to ESPN broadcaster Christian Martin.

Ronaldo spent six years at United, winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League, before joining Real Madrid in 2009.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner swapped Madrid for Serie A champions Juve in 2018, but he has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Juve would negotiate a deal with United if Ronaldo asked to leave Turin, the report claims.

 

ROUND-UP

Kylian Mbappe tops Real Madrid's list of transfer targets, reports Diario AS. The club's wishlist includes the PSG forward, Rennes sensation and United target Eduardo Camavinga, Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano. It comes as United eye both Upamecano and Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane.

Matthijs de Ligt will not leave Juventus next season, reports Calciomercato. Juve are not entertaining offers, unless a club pay De Ligt's €150million release clause, which will be active in 2021.

- Calciomercato says United have set their sights on Dortmund defender Dan-Axel Zagadou. The 21-year-old arrived from PSG in 2017.

Madrid are concerned about the form of Zinedine Zidane's team, according to Cadena SER. While there are reports Madrid directors are losing faith in Zidane, the club are also unwilling to throw Raul or Mauricio Pochettino in the deep end at the LaLiga champions.

Real Madrid's players are fully behind Zinedine Zidane and will fight for their head coach "until the death", according to full-back Dani Carvajal.

Zidane is once again under pressure at the Santiago Bernabeu with his side fourth in LaLiga following Sunday's humbling 4-1 defeat to Valencia.

Madrid are also third in their Champions League group at the midway stage after losing to Shakhtar Donetsk and drawing with Borussia Monchengladbach before beating Inter.

Reports from Spain this week suggest president Florentino Perez has doubts over Zidane's ability to turn the club's fortunes around, with replacements already being lined up.

However, Carvajal has given his full backing to the Frenchman and insists it is just a matter of time before Madrid find the type of form that saw them lift the league title last season.

"We are with the coach until the death," he told Marca. "With the club, the team-mates next to us and the philosophy of the coach, we are all together, going in the same direction.

"That is what he has done during all the years he has been here."

He added: "I think the team is reaching its highest level of the season. We are all in a good physical shape and I hope that we will have two, three good months.

"I understand these last two weeks have been difficult. But today things are much more even, with all teams working a lot harder physically.

"But we are Real Madrid. We have a very good squad and you shouldn't doubt us because we will fight for anything. In the month of March we will be alive in all competitions."

Despite a sluggish start to 2020-21, Carvajal is adamant Madrid have a strong enough to squad to win a clean sweep of honours this season.

"Our aim is clear. We are going to fight for the three trophies, plus the [Spanish] Super Cup that is coming up in January. We will go for it all," he said.

"I am optimistic about what I see and what I feel. I think the team is very committed. All the players and all the coaches feel very supported by each other."

Carvajal concedes the pressure to win everything can magnify bad results like the loss at Valencia – the first time Madrid have shipped four goals in a LaLiga game under Zidane.

"Whoever has been here for a few years gets used to it," he said. "In the end you can beat Inter in a highly contested match and lose away to a good rival in Valencia.

"We didn't have our day, but you can't win every game and it seems like we're in a crisis and they put us all in the air. 

"You have to get a little used to these ups and downs, these ups and downs of feelings, criticism and flattery, but try to keep a line and seek to achieve the goal of regularity."

Carvajal has featured just three times this season because of a knee ligament injury but is hopeful of returning ahead of schedule for the trip to Villarreal later this month.

"I'm doing much better now – my entire internal ligament broke," he said. "The estimated time of discharge was ten weeks. This Friday will be six weeks injured. 

"I'm doing quite well, I'm touching the ball. I'm doing more intense things and hopefully now after the international break I can be available for the coach."

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