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Zidane: “Do I prefer Mbappé or Haaland? Well...”

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Half the questions in Friday’s press conference were about the French and Norwegian forwards.

Real Madrid v Paris Saint Germain - UEFA Champions League Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Zinedine Zidane held a press conference on Friday, ahead of the match against Real Valladolid, but the majority of the questions were about Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland after their sensational midweek performances.

Asked what he though about Mbappé’s performance, Zidane replied: “I watch all the matches. I like watching matches. I enjoy when I see good play, just like all fans.”

He was then asked if he believes Mbappé and Haaland will be the two stars of the next generation and also which one he prefers. He didn’t really reply to that, saying: “We’ll see. They’re very good players, like Cristiano, Messi and Neymar have been. They’re younger and they’re showing that they are players for the present and the future. I like to watch football and watch good players. Do I prefer one over the other? Well, today I’m not going to reply to that. Each person has their preferences. The important thing is for fans to enjoy good young players.”

Asked if he had sent a WhatsApp to Florentino Pérez asking for the signing of one of these players, Zidane replied curtly: “I don’t send him messages.”

The question of Real Madrid’s recruitment process was then brought up and Zidane started to get a little fed up. He said: “We always do things together when it comes to transfers, speaking to the coach and those who work in the club. There will always be talk about who could come, and that won’t change, but we’re focusing on the day-to-day work. We’ve had five or six questions so far and not questions about the match tomorrow. I know there are other important things, but the important thing for us is the match tomorrow and the three points.”

Moving on to talk about Real Valladolid, Zidane insisted that his players shouldn’t start thinking about the Atalanta game. The Frenchman stated: “We’d be making a mistake to start thinking about Wednesday. But, I don’t think the players will make that mistake. We’ve had a very good week of work and now we need to show this good work on the pitch tomorrow. Real Valladolid are at home and need points too, so it should be a good match. There are 45 points still in play in this title race.”

On the Karim Benzema injury, the coach explained: “He won’t be with us tomorrow because he has a pain. He suffered it yesterday. Then, we’ll have to wait to see how he is next week. From Sunday, we’ll look at how he is. We know how important Benzema is for us. We just need to think about who can play instead and then about trying to get him back as soon as possible.”