Zinedine Zidane is reluctant to be drawn on rumours suggesting that Cristiano Ronaldo could be taken back to Real Madrid from Juventus, but the Blancos boss remains a big fan of the “magnificent” Portuguese.
Questions are being asked of how much longer the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will be sticking around in Turin, with criticism aimed in his direction on the back of another disappointing last-16 exit for Juve in the Champions League.
Ronaldo, who is now 36 years of age, is also approaching the final 12 months of his contract in Italy, leading to reports that those at Santiago Bernabeu are being offered a chance to welcome a familiar face back onto their books.
What has been said?
Zidane told reporters when quizzed on the Ronaldo speculation: “You know what he is, what he has done and how much love we have for him.
“He made history here, he's magnificent.
“Now, he is a Juve player and I cannot tell you anything about what they (media) are saying. He's a Juve player and I have to respect these things.”
Ronaldo’s record at Real Madrid
A record-breaking transfer took Ronaldo to Madrid from Manchester United in the summer of 2009.
He hit the ground running in Spain and did not let up over an iconic nine-year stay that delivered a historic haul of 450 goals through 438 appearances.
An all-time great helped the Blancos to two La Liga titles while leading their line, while also claiming four Champions League crowns and three Club World Cup wins.
Who else is generating transfer talk at Real?
Raphael Varane is seeing a move away from Madrid mooted as he delays the signing of an extension to a deal that is due to expire in 2022.
Manchester United are among those to have been credited with interest in the World Cup-winning France international, but Zidane has seen nothing to suggest that a fellow Frenchman is ready to move on.
He said of the 27-year-old centre-half: “I don't think he thinks about other clubs than Real Madrid.
“He has always said it, he has always spoken highly about the club. I think he is very happy. I only see him here.”
On the arrivals front, exciting Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga continues to be heavily linked with a switch to Spain, but Zidane is keeping his cards close to his chest there.
He said of the talented 18-year-old: “He's not our player. He's a good player, yes, he's young and has a future, but I'm not going to say anything else. He's not our player.”
Any other business?
Defending La Liga champions Real will be back in action on Saturday against Elche, with it possible that Eden Hazard could figure in that contest after recovering from his latest injury woes.
Zidane said of the Belgian playmaker, who has endured a torrid time on the fitness front since making a big-money transfer from Chelsea in 2019: “I see him 100% physically and emotionally well.
“He has overcome the injuries and discomfort he may have had. I see him well, he will be with us and I hope he can play.”
By Chris Burton
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