Zinedine Zidane sidesteps talk of Neymar moving to Real Madrid

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane would not be drawn on a big move for Neymar. (Reuters)
Updated 11 May 2018
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Zinedine Zidane sidesteps talk of Neymar moving to Real Madrid

  • Neymar is thought to be restless at PSG
  • 'I am not going there ... the rest we will talk about later'

MADRID: Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane on Friday sidestepped talk of a bid for the world's most expensive footballer Neymar.
"I dont know, I don't think so. What we are thinking about at the moment is the Champions League final," Zidane told a press conference when asked about a possible move for the Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil star.
It's "normal that people talk," he added, "but I am not going there, because we are focusing on the season and the rest we will talk about later."
Zidane's squad take on Liverpool in the Champions League final in Kiev on May 26, looking to win the trophy for a third year in a row.
Pushed about whether Neymar would fit in to the Real setup and would be compatible with Cristiano Ronaldo, Zidane said, "the good ones are always compatible (with each other."
Real President Florentino Pérez has made no secret of his desire to recruit Neymar, sparking daily rumours of transfer moves for the Brazilian star who played for Spanish rivals Barcelona from 2013-2017 before moving to French champions PSG.
Neymar returned to Paris on Friday to continue his recovery, two months after undergoing surgery on a broken bone in his foot in his native Brazil. He is unlikely to play again for PSG this season, his focus now on being ready in time for Brazil's World Cup bid in June and July, but he was at Tuesday's French Cup final between Paris Saint-Germain and minnows Les Herbiers.
"He is fully motivated but sad that he can't train with us," PSG captain Thiago Silva said. "Neymar is doing well. It's clear he's making progress. He's already working in the gym."


A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

Updated 20 March 2019
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A HAT-TRICK OF HOPES: What the UAE and Saudi Arabia should be looking for from their friendly

  • Can the Whites and Green Falcons find the back of the net more often?
  • Both teams need to set the tone ahead of the important World Cup qualifiers.

LONDON: Ahead of Thursday’s friendly between the UAE and Saudi Arabia Arab News looks at the main priorities for both sides as they embark on their new eras after the Asian Cup and ahead of the all-important the World Cup qualifiers.

FIND THOSE SCORING BOOTS

For the past 18 months both sides have struggled for goals. Under Alberto Zaccheroni the UAE scored just 10 goals in the past nine matches — five of those coming against lowly Kyrgyzstan and India — and likewise the Green Falcons have also struggled to find the back of the net. Heading toward the World Cup qualifiers, now is the time to find those scoring boots.

PUT ON A SHOW

Both sides have technically gifted players, can keep the ball and at times trouble opposition defenses. But both have been too defensive, too safety-first and, at times, too dull. Football is supposed to be entertainment, and the friendlies ahead of the World Cup qualifiers might be no bad time to throw caution to the wind and see what the players can do in the final third.

SET THE TONE

As the modern cliche goes, a week is a long time in football. With all the sackings and player movements, it is not hard to see the kernel of truth in that overused saying. But, conversely, time can also move very fast in the “Beautiful Game.” It may be six months before the World Cup qualifiers begin, but it will be September before the coaches and players know it. Set the tone and tactics now and triumphs will be easier to come by then and, more importantly, further into the future.