Club football is back and so are Zinedine Zidane’s press conferences, with the Real Madrid coach speaking to the media on Friday lunchtime ahead of Saturday’s LaLiga Santander match at home to Cádiz.
One of the main talking points during the international break was the claim from Borja Mayoral that Zidane wanted to move Luka Jović on during the summer. Zidane was firstly asked about those comments and was asked if he has addressed them with Jović. He replied: “I do speak with my players, but these are private things so I’m not going to tell you what I say with my players. The most important thing for me is to be sincere with them. People can think and opine, but I’m not getting involved in that. We have this group now and we’re going to compete.”
Pressed on the issue, Zidane was asked how he thinks Jović will respond to the suggestion that his coach didn’t want him anymore. “I was the one who asked for Jović!” Zidane pointed out. “People can have their opinions, but saying silly things… Well, it’s not like that.”
Moving on to preview the match against Cádiz, Zidane praised the way Saturday’s opponents make life difficult for teams and spoke of the competitiveness that exists throughout LaLiga. He said: “Cádiz are a very disciplined team. They’ve just come up and now they’re playing against Real Madrid so they’ll be up for it and try to make us uncomfortable. Spain’s second division is very competitive, so even matches against newly promoted sides are tough in this league. We know how difficult it’ll be in this match. We have to try to overcome this challenge, play a good game and take the three points.”
The coach went on to talk about the lack of rest that most of his key players have right now. He said. “We’ve had many days without many of the members of the squad. Fortunately, those who went away have returned well and healthy. We feel prepared for tomorrow’s match and the run of several matches in a row. My players never get to rest. 14 or 15 of them never stop. Right now there’s a block of seven matches and then they go with their national teams again. I’m not complaining, I’m just explaining. We need to rotate and I believe we can win like this.”
Asked a question by Norwegian media, Zidane was quizzed about Martin Ødegaard and the different position he was used in by the Norwegian national team. On that, Zidane replied: “I watched the matches. I didn’t watch them all live, but I’ve watched them. Martin played a little bit differently in a line of four. It’s good. When the players go away with their national teams, I prefer for them to play.”
Zidane was also asked by the Norwegian media about Erling Haaland and his performances, given that the striker has been linked with Real Madrid. “He’s not my player, but he’s good,” Zidane replied.