Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 May 2019

Zinedine Zidane wants Real Madrid's focus on the present and not the future

Manager not looking at summer transfer plans until the season is over

Zinedine Zidane has much to ponder as Real Madrid manager. EPA
Zinedine Zidane has much to ponder as Real Madrid manager. EPA

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane will not let speculation surrounding a summer overhaul of his squad deflect focus from delivering a strong finish to the La Liga campaign.

After crashing out of the Uefa Champions League to Ajax and long being way behind Barcelona in the title race, there appears little left for Madrid to play for with the expectation that focus is already turning to what changes will happen in the summer ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.

Reports continue of just what transfer dealings Zidane will make once the window opens again.

The future of Gareth Bale remains up for debate while the club have been linked with big-money moves for Chelsea attacker Eden Hazard and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.

The French manager, though, is determined to stay focused on the job in hand which continues at home against Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

"I'm not going to get into anything, names or anything. We are also thinking about the future, but it will be discussed at the moment. Now we must think about the teams that we have to play with and nothing else," Zidane said at a news conference on Saturday.

"I know what I want and with the club I will talk about the profiles of players I want, but not now.

"There is nothing concrete. I have some ideas and desire to change things. What I have clear in my head are the profiles of players I want, but everything will depend on the market.

"There will be changes and there will also be changes in the game system.

"We have players who are very good and the best are here. We always look for the best.

"We must accept that this has not been our best year, but we must accept it and change it. I do not know how it's going to end."

Pressed on the situation with Wales forward Bale, the Real Madrid head coach said: "We have not talked about the future and we're not going to do it. We only think about tomorrow's game and nothing else.

"We have one month of competition and we will try to do well. My mind is here and my energy is also set in the next year. I'm not burned, not at all."

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is sidelined by a calf injury for Sunday's clash, while full-back Alvaro Odriozola will have an operation on his fractured collarbone after a collision with Vinicius Junior during training.

Zidane could yet see his team finish ahead of rivals Atletico Madrid in the battle for runners-up spot.

"We are facing a team [on Sunday] that has not lost much lately and against which it has always been very difficult to play," he said. "But at the same time it is a good game to play and to make things better."

Bilbao remain in a battle to finish in the top seven and manager Gaizka Garitano intends to take the game to their hosts.

"We have victory in mind. They feel comfortable with the ball, that's why we must focus on stealing the ball and pressing down," he said.

Updated: April 21, 2019 02:24 PM

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