herald

Monday 16 September 2019

Glass is half full for Real boss Zidane

Zinedine Zidane
Zinedine Zidane

Zinedine Zidane insists he is "optimistic" about Real Madrid's prospects this season and has appealed to fans to get behind the club.

Real travel to Celta Vigo today and have not lost on the opening day of the previous 10 campaigns, but Zidane is already under pressure after a mediocre end to last season and some underwhelming pre-season performances - including a 7-3 thrashing by city rivals Atletico.

After he returned for a second spell in charge at the Bernabeu in March, Madrid won just five of their last 11 games of the season.

Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy, Luka Jovic, Rodrygo and Eden Hazard all signed for a total transfter cost of close to €300m, but Hazard (thigh) has been ruled out for several weeks.

Other high-profile targets such as Paul Pogba and Neymar seem unlikely to make the move.

"He plays for Manchester United and you have to respect that," Zidane said of Pogba. "Neymar is not a Real Madrid player and I just said that the important players are the ones who are here."

As for Welsh star Bale, Zidane added: "It seemed he was leaving and now he's here with us.

"The dynamics and things change, but I will count on him."

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