Real Madrid have too much on to talk about Alaba - Zidane

By Sports Desk January 01, 2021

Zinedine Zidane is not entertaining speculation about transfer talks with David Alaba as Real Madrid battle to defend their LaLiga title.

Bayern Munich defender Alaba is out of contract in Germany at the end of the season and negotiations over an extension have so far proved fruitless for the European champions.

The Austria international has been mooted as a target for Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain as well as Madrid, although Zidane's outfit are considered favourites for his signature in some quarters.

Alaba was a key part of the Bayern team that won the Champions League last season.

However, since the start of 2019-20, he has committed four errors leading to shots in the competition, a joint-high among defenders. None of these have resulted in goals, while Madrid's Raphael Varane has made the same number of mistakes but been punished on all four occasions.

Alaba's statistics over this period are very similar to Varane's, playing 13 games to his 14 and having 29 fewer touches and seven fewer successful passes.

Varane is also just four tackles, two blocks, five clearances and seven interceptions ahead of his counterpart.

Rather than being signed as a competitor to Varane, though, Alaba could partner the World Cup winner as talismanic Madrid captain Sergio Ramos approaches his 35th birthday.

Either way, the speculation does not interest head coach Zidane, who said ahead of facing Celta Vigo: "We've got all our players here. I'm just thinking about the game tomorrow with the players that I have here.

"Then maybe you're going to ask me about the players that are playing a lot or not playing a lot. We have 22 players, 25 with the goalkeepers, a very big squad.

"We have enough to think about with the games that we have not to be thinking about players that aren't even ours. Please, we're thinking just about the game tomorrow."

While Zidane is keeping his focus on LaLiga, where Madrid trail Atletico Madrid by two points, the need to bring in a player of Alaba's calibre would become urgent if a new contract for Ramos was not agreed.

The PSG-linked skipper, Luka Modric and Lucas Vazquez are all free agents, like Alaba, in June 2021.

"Yes, we all want [contracts to be signed]," Zidane said. "We want the situation to be sorted as quickly as possible.

"It's in everyone's interests, it would be good for everyone, so hopefully it can be sorted out quickly."

Related items

  • Australian Open: Run to final 'completely unexpected' for Nadal Australian Open: Run to final 'completely unexpected' for Nadal

    Rafael Nadal insisted his run to the Australian Open final was "completely unexpected" after moving to within a win of a record-breaking grand slam title.

    Nadal, 35, overcame Matteo Berrettini 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 in their semi-final under the Rod Laver Arena roof on Friday.

    After doubts over his career due to a persistent foot injury, Nadal is into a 29th grand slam final and a win away from a 21st major crown, which would break a tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the most won by a man.

    The Spaniard said he had no expectations to reach the decider in Melbourne, where Daniil Medvedev or Stefanos Tsitsipas await.

    "For me it's something completely unexpected, so I am super happy. Of course everybody knows me, and I'm always going to try my best. Of course my goal now is to win," Nadal told a news conference.

    "As I said, for me, it's a present, just be here and play tennis. I am taking now things a little bit in a different way, of course always with competitive spirit that I have, because I can't go against that. It's my personal DNA.

    "But in some way, I don't know, just be what I am and be able to have the chance to compete at this level, it's a positive energy for me to keep going, because at the end of the day, and being very honest, for me it's much more important to have the chance to play tennis than win the 21. Because that makes me more happy in terms of general life to be able to do the thing that I like to do more than achieving another grand slam.

    "At the end of the day, life, it's about happiness and what makes me happy. It's about just having the chance to do what I like to do."

    Nadal ended his 2021 season in August and, after a four-month absence, returned for an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last month.

    He claimed his 89th ATP Tour title in Melbourne earlier this month before progressing to the Australian Open final.

    "I feel alive in terms of my tennis life, you know, in terms of my tennis career," Nadal said.

    "In my personal life, I honestly have a good life. I feel lucky that my family is healthy, and during these challenging times that's everything. More important than tennis, for sure. 100 per cent.

    "But, yeah, I explained before, for a long time I wasn't able to practice. Sometimes I went on court and I was able to practice 20 minutes, sometimes 45, sometimes zero, sometimes two hours, but have been very, very rough in terms of imagining myself playing at the best-of-five at this moment.

    "So, yeah, I don't know. Super happy. It's true that I worked hard for a long time every single day in terms of when I was not able to play tennis I was working hard in the gym.

    "I think I'm never going to say I deserve, because a lot of people deserve. But I worked the proper way, and I hold the positive spirit and attitude to have the chance to give myself a chance to be back."

  • Australian Open: Barty's variety to be tested by Collins' aggression in intriguing final Australian Open: Barty's variety to be tested by Collins' aggression in intriguing final

    Ash Barty's form at the Australian Open gives her deserved favourite status for the final, but in Danielle Collins one of the most dangerous players on the WTA Tour stands between her and history.

    Barty has ruthlessly cruised into Saturday's final – the first Australian to reach the women's singles decider in 42 years – in brilliant form.

    The two-time grand slam champion has lost just 21 games on her way to the showpiece, dropping serve just once.

    Barty, the world number one, has appeared a class above at the year's first grand slam, where she is bidding to become the first Australian singles champion since Chris O'Neil in 1978. But she faces a huge test in the final against American 27th seed Collins, who is into her first major decider.

    After three straight losses to Barty, two of which were on clay, Collins beat the Australian in straight sets in Adelaide last year in a sign of what she is capable of. Collins, who came from a break down in both sets in that win, possesses the power to threaten Barty on Rod Laver Arena.

    Barty's variety – her serve, backhand slice and ability to construct points – has been much talked about in Melbourne this year.

    Her 35 aces for the tournament are the second most, and exactly half of her first serves have been unreturned at the event, the highest percentage of any player in the women's draw. While Barty will try to unsettle Collins with her variety, the American is likely to respond with power. Collins has crushed 32 return winners at the event, a tally that is eight more than the next best.

    Collins has also delivered 164 winners to 149 unforced errors, showcasing her aggressiveness, while Barty is at 106 and 96 respectively.

    If Barty can extend the points, she will fancy her chances of a first Australian Open title. Collins has spent 10 hours, 37 minutes on court compared to Barty's 6:06, but shorter points would also suit the 2019 Australian Open semi-finalist.

    Of points between zero and eight shots this tournament, Collins has won 458 of 809 (56.6 per cent), while Barty is 331-202 (62.1). But of rallies of nine-plus shots, Collins is 23-31 compared to Barty's 30-19 at the 2022 event.

    Barty will be well aware of what Collins is capable of, but should have confidence her best is more than good enough to end Australia's long wait.

  • Rumour Has It: Liverpool make approach for Juventus' Dybala, Barcelona in Meunier loan bid Rumour Has It: Liverpool make approach for Juventus' Dybala, Barcelona in Meunier loan bid

    Paulo Dybala is out of contract at Juventus at the end of this season.

    The two parties are expected to resume talks next month.

    In the meantime, some top clubs are monitoring Dybala's availability.

    TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL IN FOR DYBALA MOVE

    Liverpool have reached to Juventus with a move for Argentina international Dybala, claims Tuttomercatoweb.

    The Reds are looking to capitalise on Dybala's contract situation although Manchester City and Inter are also interested in the 28-year-old.

    Dybala has been with the Bianconeri since 2015 but is yet to agree terms on a new contract.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Marca reports that Barcelona have contacted Borussia Dortmund about signing Thomas Meunier on loan until the end of the season with BVB open to the idea.

    - Wolves will not accept bids below £40 million for Ruben Neves amid interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, claims The Sun.

    - Porto have turned down Tottenham's offer of £37m with add-ons for Colombian winger Luis Diaz reports the Evening Standard.

    - Jose Mourinho's Roma remain hopeful of landing Arsenal's Granit Xhaka before the transfer window closes according to the Mail.

    - Goal reports that Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign US international goalkeeper Matt Turner in the off-season from New England Revolution.

    - Aston Villa's Ashley Young has declined an approach from Newcastle United claims The Mirror.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.