Oh, Zizou, you rascal.
These comments will set the cat amongst the pigeons…
After Neymar stated in an interview that he would like to play with Eden Hazard and together they would “cause havoc” many believe that the duo could link up at Real Madrid this summer.
Asked about Neymar’s comments and if they could play together at Real, Zidane trod a fine line between backing up the comments and keeping his comments as general as he could.
“I think so. It is the same for many players because they know that this club is important,” Zidane said. “Many players, someday, want to play at this club. So it is normal. All the good players are compatible, always. They told me I would not be compatible with Youri Djorkaeff. Do you remember Djorkaeff? Absolute nonsense.”
Pushed further on what type of player he wants to add this summer as his second spell in charge of Real properly kicks off, Zidane wouldn’t name names.
“I am clear about what I want do and the profile of the players I want,” Zidane added. “I won’t be saying names but I have a clear idea of what I want to do and what I want to achieve.”
Pau Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have all been linked with moves to Real this summer, and the profile of player they are able to attract hasn’t changed despite a struggle on the pitch this season for the squad of players who won the UEFA Champions League title in each of the past three seasons.
It is clear that this Real Madrid squad will be broken up this summer, but it is unclear how much money they have to spend on new players and where they want to strengthen. If the likes of Neymar and Hazard are to arrive, then it is likely Gareth Bale will be sold and it looks likely Zidane will retool his attack, one which hasn’t really looked the same since Cristiano Ronaldo left for Juventus last summer.
You could argue that in midfield they are ageing with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, but their quality remains, and in defense a long-term replacement for Sergio Ramos is needed, while Thibaut Courtois could already be on borrowed time at Real with Keylor Navas performing well in recent weeks with Courtois out injured.
In truth, Zidane needs to do a lot of strengthening but it is clear with his profile and that of Real Madrid’s, he won’t have to do too much persuading to get players on board.