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Football Reporting


Real Madrid’s Zidane refuses to rule out January transfers

Zinedine Zidane has refused to rule out adding to his Real Madrid squad in January while admitting that a fully fit Eden Hazard is what the team needs going into the second half of the season.

Madrid have won three league games in a row to give themselves a fighting chance of defending the La Liga title they won in 2019-20.

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That is despite the club deciding not to spend on strengthening the team during the summer, and star forward Hazard being limited to just three league appearances so far.

“I am happy with my players, I will count on all of them,” Zidane said in a news conference ahead of Madrid’s match at Eibar on Sunday.

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“Things could happen, that’s clear. Until the end of January, at any club, anything can happen. But what I can say is what I feel. My players are the best.”

Madrid’s members are due to meet — virtually — on Sunday to approve the club’s latest, pandemic-hit accounts, which predict a €300 million reduction in income for 2020-21, a significant restriction on any future spending.

One high-profile player linked with an exit has been Isco, with his father and agent admitting last month that the playmaker would like a move abroad.

“I can only speak about my players,” Zidane said, when asked if he’d consider a swap for long-term target Paul Pogba.

“Isco is here with us. We have enough to think about with what we’re doing. Tomorrow we have an important game.”

Hazard won’t feature against Eibar, having missed the last three weeks with a thigh problem.

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It is the latest in a series of injury issues that have blighted the Belgium international’s first 18 months as a Real Madrid player, after suffering two ankle fractures last season.

“We hope he will be back soon,” Zidane added. “He’s almost totally recovered, but he’s still missing something to play… The important thing for us is that Eden recovers well.

“He’d never had anything until the injury he’s had at Madrid. He always played regularly. He has to accept it.

“What we want, above all, is that when he returns, it’s for good. We need him but we won’t do anything silly, bring him back too soon. Calm and patience.”

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