Zinedine Zidane cut a relaxed figure during his first press conference of the pre-season in Montreal. The Real Madrid coach wasn’t subjected to too many searching questions on his plans and played a straight bat when he was quizzed on the potential ins and outs ahead of the new season.
The question everybody was waiting to hear answered, of course, concerned France and Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, who has been heavily linked with a move to the Bernabéu this summer. Zidane’s reply was suitably non-committal.
Zidane said: “I’m happy with the squad I’ve got and it’s difficult to improve on it.
“Do I like Pogba? Of course, he’s a very good player and every club wants the best players. But right now he’s at Juve and we have a large squad already.
“There are still lots of players yet to join up with the squad and, with the Euros going on, we couldn’t do anything. We have three games coming up and that’s the focus at the moment.”
The future of Álvaro Morata has also caused much speculation – as a return to Real this summer hasn’t failed to stop Chelsea’s interest in the Spanish striker.
When quizzed about Morata, Zidane said: “He is another member of this team. He’s back and I’m happy to have him.
“He is an academy product, who knows what Real Madrid is and truthfully we are and (we’re), me above all, happy to have him with us.
“Later, we’ll see… we have a large squad and all the players will be important. Álvaro will be one more of the team.”
James Rodríguez also cropped up during the press conference, with Zidane again preferring to speak in broad terms about a player who didn’t see much action after the Frenchman assumed the reins last January.
He added: “James is another member of the squad. He’ll be back on the 26th, with Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric.
“I’ll speak to him, as I will speak with everyone. I’m not going to say that James isn’t a starter.
“he is an important player for us”.
Asked about Jesé’s uncertain future, and whether he favours a smaller or larger squad than he had at his disposal last season, Zidane replied: “We have lots of youth players who aren’t ready to play for the first team and (need to) go out to gain experience. In terms of Jesé, he didn’t play much last year.
“As the coach, I like Jesé as a player and want him to stay but it’s impossible to say what will happen.”