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Football Reporting

Bayern Munich

Real Madrid boss Zidane shuns Alaba transfer speculation

Zinedine Zidane has refused to be drawn on Real Madrid’s reported transfer targets with his focus set on Wednesday’s Copa del Rey round-of-16 game at Spanish third division side Alcoyano.

Reports in Spain suggested that Bayern Munich centre-back David Alaba will join Real Madrid as a free agent this summer, however when asked about the speculation Zidane said: “I understand you have to ask but you are asking about a player that isn’t mine. I’m sorry. As a coach all that interests me is tomorrow’s game.”

Alaba, 28, has rejected several offers to extend his contract with Bayern and is a target of top European clubs.

The Austria international, who has won 25 titles in 10 seasons with Bayern, has reportedly already agreed personal terms with Real Madrid.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe is another player that has been linked with Real Madrid in recent seasons.

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PSG sporting director Leonardo recently said his club has yet to reach an agreement to extend the contracts of star players Neymar and Mbappe, whose deals both end in June 2022.

Asked if he would give his consent to his club signing Mbappe this summer, Zidane also declined to comment.

However, he does believe top players, like Mbappe, do choose where to play.

“In the end, yes, it’s like that,” he said. “But each player has his contract, his things… but it’s not good to get into things like this. I can talk about my players but when it comes to others, it gets complicated to get involved.”

Zidane, meanwhile, is confident Eden Hazard will succeed at Madrid.

The Belgium winger arrived at the Bernabeu stadium in the summer of 2019 from Chelsea in a reported €100 million transfer but has failed to live up to expectations.

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Injuries and lack of form have contributed to Hazard scoring just three goals in 32 appearances in all competitions for Madrid.

Hazard started in Madrid’s 2-1 defeat to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup semifinal last week and his below-par performance drew criticism from fans.

“For sure he’s always motivated,” Zidane said. “He’s been a player that didn’t know what it was to be injured and now it’s difficult to return to his level. It’s a long process but I have no doubt that he will return to his level. We have to be patient in order to come out stronger and that is what will happen. I don’t doubt for a minute.”

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